Retaining Length for 2011!

Not too long ago, I accomplished my short term goal of reaching full SL (shoulder length) by my 1 year natural anniversary.

Now I am on to my next goal….reaching APL (arm pit length). I have heard that SL to APL takes the longest! Of course I cannot contest to this, as I have not reached APL, but it is something frequently said in the forums I am part of..

Keeping that in mind, I plan on reaching my goal by retaining all of new growth/length I accumulate throughout the year. The best way to retain length is by doing protective styles. Protective styles insure you ends being protected.

Now your ends is not where growth occurs, it happens at the root, but it is how we are able to see length. Your ends are the oldest and most fragile part of your hair, so if anything occurs like splits, or single strand knots, it is your ends that has to be dusted or trimmed. Meaning you will loose some length. This is not such a horrible thing, as it is better to have healthy shorter hair, then long hair with frazzled ends.

You want your hair to not only be long, but also to be healthy! Once you figure out how to keep your hair healthy, retaining length will be a piece of cake!

Everyone’s hair grows at different rates, but hair growth can range between 0.25-1 inch a month. It also has to do your diet/health, and how well you care for your hair. Genetics also does play a part, as well.

I would say I am about 4 inches away from my goal. I average half an inch of growth each month, so I’m hoping to retain it all and make my goal of APL within 8 months, but to be fair, (as my hair may not grow a lot one month, or grow more another. It is good to set realistic goals, as to not disappoint  or discourage yourself.) I know that I have stated that I would like to make my goal by June, but I will give myself until December of 2011.

 (December 2011 is also my goal date for my  bald spots to be filled.)

I am going to try to do a lot of protective styling this winter, like pony tails and buns, and maybe two strand twists and box braids. As protective styling is the best way to retain growth, because it is not being manipulated.

I can still do low manipulation styling because since I am natural, I get a lot of shrinkage. So my hair in it’s natural state does not reach my shoulders. My unstretched hair  looks CL (Chin Length), sometimes NL (neck length) and that is on a good day.

I am hoping to be SL unstretched one day too.

I set goals as a way of motivating myself, and to keep up with my regimen. Plus it makes it fun!

For hair acronyms, or abbreviations and hair charts, check out  previous post

I hope this gives you an idea of ways to retain length!

Until Next Time, Naomi~

Prepoo Overnight, Using Saran Wrap! (+ Sulfate Definitions)

Now I am sure some of you may saying to yourself ‘What in the world is a prepoo?’  and ‘Why would I use saran wrap?’, but let me tell you, if you use shampoo that contains Sulfates, prepooing will make a world of difference.

Before I do that, I’ll give you all the run down of what kinds of sulfates are used in hair care products, and what they do.

Sulfates is a short term to describe four common types of sulfates that can be found hair care products. They are, Sodium Lauryl, Sodium Laureth, Ammonium Lauryl, and Sodium Myreth.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/SLS ( also known as Sodium Laurllsulfate or Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate/SDS), is an agent normally found in shampoo’s and cleaning products, such as car detergents, floor cleaners, toothpaste, etc. This chemical is used in products because of it’s foaming/thickening ability. It is also known to be a skin and irritant, which explains why your eyes burn if you get shampoo in your eye.


Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate/ALS
(also known as Ammonium Dodecyl Sulfate/ADS) another base in cleaners for it’s ability to break down hydrogen bonds, and distribute water evenly. This allows water to penetrate a surface or hair easier. It also has the ability to dissolve anything coming off of the surface applied to. Which could explain the stripped (dry) feeling, you may experience when using shampoo containing this sulfate.



Sodium Laureth Sulfate (also know as Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate/ SLES) another chemical that is found in hygienic products, such as soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, etc. Similar to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, this chemical is used for its foaming abilities.



Sodium Myreth Sulfate is a clear chemical used in make up, and other hygienic products as listed previously. This chemical is similar to Sodium Laureth Sulfate, because it goes through a process that gives it detergent properties like it’s counterpart, except it contains more fatty alcohol. This fatty alcohol is called 1-Tetradenacol or Myristyl Alcohol.

Myristyl Alcohol is a saturated fatty alcohol, it is insolivable in water, but is used for it’s emollient properties. Emollients is a substance found in most skin,make-up, and hair products for its softening and soothing ablities. 

The word Emollient means to soften. While Moisture means to add moisture to something.

So as you can see, sulfates can be harsh on our precious strands! (Side note: Sodium Myreth Sulfate doesn’t sound too horrible. lol) Which is why many, like myself go through the prepooing process, to help counteract the stripped feeling your hair gets after using a shampoo containing sulfates.

Prepooing helps put some extra moisture in your hair, so that some stays behind after you shampoo. It is not necessary to prepoo if you use a sulfate-free shampoo. However, if sulfates work for you, keep using them, prepooing is just a process that helps hair retain some moisture after the fact.

You can prepoo with virtually, anything you want. Be it, a cheapie conditioner, (one you may use to cowash) or something more expensive. You can even use foods, like avocado, honey, bananas, (which can be very moisturizing!) or oils,  like coconut, castor, olive, jojoba, etc. Or mix oils and conditoners, whatever works for you. 

The amount of time you decide to prepoo is also up to you. Some chose to do it a half hour to an hour before shampooing, some do it overnight.

Here is where my Saran Wrap comes into play!

I find I get better results when I prepoo for a longer amount of time. Since I do cayenne treatments before shampooing, and deep condition afterwards, I am usually pressed for time. So I decided to try to prepoo overnight. I had not done it before, for fear that I would get conditioner or oil all over my face and pillowcase while sleeping (I am a wild sleeper!)  So I decided to try to Saran Wrap my hair.

I have heard of this process before, but in terms of doing so after flat ironing or doing a roller set, to flatten and smooth the hair. I wanted to create a barrier between my hair, and my satin scarf, as I know my scarf would just soak up all the oil.

So here is what I did.

Before applying I braided my hair into six plaits. I used Coconut Oil as my prepoo. Using my fingers, I added the Coconut Oil to the base of my plait (my roots), and then rubbed Coconut oil, on the length of my braid. I repeated until I finished all the plaits. (I apply my prepoo while my hair is sectioned because it is easier to determine how much oil is going into each section, this helps prevent my hair becoming too saturated.)

I then wrapped each plait in somewhat of a pin curl, to prevent my ends from drying out. 

Then came the Saran Wrap. Like I’ve said before, I have not used Saran Wrap before, so I just wrapped it by, keeping it in it’s box, and pulling enough out so that I can wrap around my head once, and kept going until it looked like this.

After wrapping, I put on my satin scarf over the wrap, and then my satin bonnet. For added measure, I put an old T-shirt over my pillow to catch any oil that may have escaped during the night.

Fortunately I did not experience any slippage, and was pleased to find that none of my wrappings came off, nor my scarf or bonnet. I took my bonnet, scarf, and wrap off and unbraided my plaits, and was pleasantly surprised about how soft and supple my hair felt!

It was not overtly oily, and felt really soft to the touch. I have yet to shampoo, as I am doing a Cayenne Treatment (these ‘treatments’ help aid in growing back my bald areas, to know more about the process, here are previous posts, Why Use Cayenne PepperPart II, Why Use Cayenne PepperCayenne Pepper Update/Comparison Pics) right now, but judging on how soft my hair feels now, my shampoo won’t stand a chance (at stripping my hair)!

I have just added another step to my wash day process, but I am sure it is worth it.

If you have tried prepooing ,and you rather not do the process, or find that sulfate shampoos are not working for you, you can try sulfate free.
 
Some Sulfate Free Shampoo brands are,

Aubrey Organics
Avalon Organics

Jason Natural
Giovanni

Burts Bees

Also some Castile soap brands like Dr. Bronners and Dr. Woods.

There are other brands but those are one’s I can think of for now. The only way to be really sure is to check the product’s ingredients list before purchasing.  Just know that Shampoo’s without sulfates will not lather like those that do, as sulfates are what causes the foaming. They also tend to be a bit pricier than those with sulfates.

I hope this clarifies what prepooing is, and how it works, and why it is done. You all are more than welcome to asking any questions! Just comment, and better yet, suscribe!

Until Next Time, Naomi~

Product Revisited: Suave’s Professionals Shea & Almond Conditioner

As you guys know, I have done a product review on this conditioner a while back. Well yesterday I decided on doing a cowashing since my scalp was itching like crazy. I planned on using Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut Conditioner, but changed my mind, and used Suave Professionals Shea & Almond.

Man, have I been missing out!

First of all, I looove the consistency! It’s thick and creamy and easy to apply. (Creamy conditioners can be heavy, but it is great for those with thick hair. I myself do not consider my hair thick, but I have fine natural strands.)I had no problems distributing the conditioner, and it gave my hair so much slip! I could literally run my fingers through my hair without even detangling (of course with the conditioner still in my hair) It also left my scalp feeling clean. Which I liked as well!

I rinsed out, and used Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut, which has bee a staple of mine, to compare. Now I still love my Tropical Coconut, but I did not get nearly as much slip, nor did my hair feel as moisturized, compared to Suave Professionals Shea & Almond.

I also like this conditioner because of the ingredients. It has a lot of natural components, which is great for a product so cheap!

Ingredients:
Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice [Aloe Vera]*, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil [Lemongrass]*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower/Leaf Extract*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract*, Dimethiconol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Dipropylene Glycol, Potassium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Disodium EDTA, TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, PEG-150 Distearate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

I purchased this conditioner from Walmart for $1.84  USD! You can get the 32 ounce for $2.84 USD.

I even went as far as to use the conditioner as a leave in. I oiled my scalp as usual, coated my hair with conditioner, and sealed with Shea Butter.

I dried my hair in twists, covered in a silk bonnet. My hair feels so soft, and moisturized, and my curls are nice and defined.

I think this conditioner may replace my beloved Naturals Tropical Coconut. Or will be my alternate cowash and leave in, mixed with some other things.

I plan on using the matching Shampoo this week, and will review it as well. I am hoping my hair likes it, since the ingredients are good, as well as the price. My fingers are crossed!

Until Next Time, Naomi~

Update & New Discovery! Vegetable Oil = Soybean Oil!

Hey guys, just wanted to give you a quick update. I flat ironed my hair a week and some days ago, and finally got around to washing my hair. I was worried because I flat ironed more than once in the week period, and thought I could have some heat damage.

Thank goodness that was not the case. My hair started to curl up right after I Clarified (using VO5 Herbal Escapes Clarifying Kiwi Lime) and cowashed (w/ matching conditioner). I made sure to prepoo before clarifying, so my hair would not feel completely stripped.

I Dced with protein mixing mayonnaise into Organics Africa’s Best Hair Mayonnaise, I let that sit for about an hour and a half, and used a plastic bag to cover my hair instead of a plastic cap ( I ran out lol).

My hair felt great afterwards, super soft. However to make sure I don’t experience any unnecessary shedding, I followed with a moisturizing dc.

Thing is I ran out of my moisturizing dc (Hollywood Beauty Olive Cholesterol) so I made one. I just used one of my cowashing conditioners, Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut, and decided to try using Vegetable Oil. I decided on giving it a try since I am running low on Coconut Oil. 

I left it on for an hour and a half as well. My hair felt really soft, and detangling was a breeze!

For some reason I looked on the back of my (Crisco) Vegetable Oil bottle, and looked under ingredients, and found out Vegetable Oil, is Soybean Oil!

Reading up on Soybean Oil, I’ve learned that it has many benefits. This oil helps moisturize hair because it contains Omega 3 fats and lipids, that can penetrate the hair shaft, which results in hydrated hair. Soybean Oil also contains proteins, and vitamins, which can help strengthen and nourish your strands as well.

I have not used it as a hot oil treatment, but I have heard it is great for that as well. 

I like this oil! It is light in comparison to Castor Oil, so I may use it as a sealant. My hair seemed to like it.

Anyway, I just had to share my discovery with you all!

Today Marks 1st Year Natural!

Well guys, I officially made my one year mark as a natural. Man does time fly, it’s also my sweetie’s bday so I’ve been a little busy today, but I just wanted to share my news with you all. I straightened my hair to commemorate today to see how much growth I’ve obtained in a year.

I actually flat ironed my hair on Wednesday, out of pure excitement to do a length check. I also gave myself a trim, since my ends weren’t looking too hot.

Honestly I’m on the verge of heat addiction because I have flat ironed everyday since, so hopefully I will not suffer from heat damage. We’ll have to wait and see for that one.

I self big chopped last year.

 

I would say I was about EL here (after I bc’ed).

A Year Later

 

 

 

Didn’t like these pics much, but the show my length! I finally made it to SL!

Anyway I just wanted to share my good news with you all! I’m hoping to make it to APL by June 2012!

Until Next Time, Naomi~

Deep Conditioning Challenge For Balance!

Hey all! I am conducting a Deep Conditioning Challenge for Balance, on Black Hair Planet, (I encourage you all to join me!) for a three month period. This time around I really want to focus on on balance since I was suffering from single strand knots, and shedding.

To have balance you need to use both moisturizing and protein based deep conditioners. It depends on the person as to how many times they decide to use protein and moisture based dc’s. It is healthy to deep condition weekly, and that is what the ladies participating in this challenge and myself will be doing.

The Deep Conditioning Challenge For Balance will Begin Saturday, October 16th, 2010. This Challenge will run until December 16th for a break during the holiday season, since I know how hectic it can be!

In the challenge we have check in dates. It is so we can post about our experience, and any results we’ve been getting from our weekly deep conditioning. The dates are

Starting Date: October 16th, 2010
November 16th, 2010
December 16th, 2010 (Check Out)
 Everyone has two main deep conditioners that they will use for the challenge (1 protein/1 moisturizing) if you would like to use another dc that is not one of the two of your main conditioners, you can use a pass. You are allowed two passes a month.

Here are the rules

  1. You are required to deep condition for at least once a week!
  2. You can deep condition on wet or dry hair (whatever your preference)
  3. Deep condition with heat for at least 30 minutes
  4. If deep conditioning without heat, leave it in for at least 1-2 hours
  5. You can make any additions to your deep conditioner, just post what you added(Oils, honey, eggs, or any ingredient of your choosing)
  6. Passes are to be used when you do not use one of the two conditioners you listed to be your main conditioners for this challenge
  7. You are allowed 2 passes a month.
  8. Please post when a Pass is used.

You guys are more than welcome to join, or to incorporate weekly deep conditioning as well!

Until Next time, Naomi~

The Mother of all Single Strand Knots!

You guys, a couple of days ago I did the unimaginable…I tried to detangle my dry hair! Now if you know anything about healthy hair care, you know that is one of the hugest no-no’s. It is because your hair is more susceptible to breakage or splits in it’s dry state, as well as knotting!

Single strand knots are caused when a strand of hair rubs against itself and forms a ball at the end of the strand. (Click link for more descriptive definition on how SSK are formed, and how to avoid and fix!)

It had been a while since combing my hair, as I have been putting my hair in a ponytail, and tucking my ends, so I wanted to use my fingers to detangle a little bit. that was a huge mistake, I found myself forming knots my trying to pull my hair apart, and in doing so, I found a THREE strand knot.

It was three separate strands of hair, all connected at the end, so it was strand of hair, then a knot connecting the next strand of hair at the end, then another strand connected by a knot at the end. (I tried taking a picture but the flash on my camera made it so you couldn’t see the strand, I didn’t think to hold a piece of paper behind it)

I have not gotten down to the bottom of it just yet, but I think I will be stepping up my moisture intake, so we’ll see.

Until Next Time, Naomi~

JBCO Is The Truth!

I’m sure you guys have heard me mention that I have been using Tropical Isle brand Lavender JBCO (Jamaican Black Castor Oil) for a while now. I mix it with Africa’s Best Ultimate Herbal Oil, and regular Home Health brand Castor Oil (it is Cold pressed and Cold processed) to stretch it, as JBCO is expensive! (I use an 8 ounce applicator bottle, 4 ounces of JBCO,  and make up the other 4 ounces using regular Castor Oil, and Africa’s Best Ultimate Oil) However this stuff is amazing by itself.

I have heard of people experiencing an itchy scalp due to JBCO. If you are experiencing that, I suggest you cutting (mixing) your JBCO with another oil. It will help dilute it. I have not experienced this, I mix my JBCO by choice, and you guys can too if you so chose.

I have been using this oil on my scalp since sometime near the beginning of the year, and the amount of thickness I have obtained, is unreal! I just recently started using it along my hairline, and even my ‘baby’ hair has grown longer and thicker, thing is, it does not quite look like baby hair anymore, as it too long to lie down, and does not blend in with the rest of my hair (it is a shorter length). I can tell it is indeed ‘baby’ hair, because the front and sides of my hairline were super thin, and now it’s filled in. You can see my side edges in my last post.

I also love the way it smells, I know a lot of people complain about it’s smokey scent, but it has really grow on me, the lavender adds a nice touch too. It is good for those who are not too fond of the regular/natural scent of JBCO. I swear it is gold in a bottle! If you do not mind paying the shipping fee, it is definitely worth a try if you are looking to thicken your hair, pr to fill in a bald/thinning area.

From my understanding JBCO can be found on Amazon, BeautyofNewyork.com (I have not ordered from these places myself, but some ladies from one of the forums I frequent does, and of course from the official site for Tropical Isle Brand JBCO, Sams247.com.  I have also heard you can buy it from BSS (Beauty Supply Store(s)), however this is tricky. I think you will have some luck if is a Caribbean/African owned, but that is just my opinion.

There is another brand of JBCO, Sunny Isle Brand, and from what I’ve seen comes in different colors, and ‘flavors’, if you will, but I have not used it before, so I cannot give an opinion. I would suggest that you guys do your research before making a decision on which to purchase, of course my vote is for Tropical Isle. Check out forums, other blog/vlog reviews, hair forums, and even youtube. These are the best tools when trying to figure out what products are favored, or are considered the ‘best’. Please do keep in mind, that what works for one, may not work for another, so use your judgment.

 Also both brands have branched out from JBCO, and have come out with pomades, shampoo, and other goodies, so you can also check those out on their websites.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my good news with you all!

Until Next Time, Naomi~

Cayenne Update Comparison Pics (3rd Edition)

As you guys know, I have been using Cayenne Pepper as a growth aid since the beginning of my my Healthy Hair Journey, (HHJ) February 2009. I also began a two part Cayenne Pepper Challenge on Black Hair Planet. Which ended a couple of months ago, for all the members of the challenge. I am still doing cayenne pepper ‘treatments’ (as I like to call them) as it is a part of my weekly regimen.

After researching Cayenne Pepper, I learned that, Capsaicin is a compound found in Chilli Peppers, Capsaicin causes a burning/tingling sensation to any tissue it comes in contact with. This burning sensation means the area it is applied to is being stimulated, which means blood flow! The blood flow helps awaken follicles. Cayenne Pepper happens to be in Chilli family, which is what attracted me to using this spice. 

I have Traction Alopecia, and I have had it since I was a child.Unfortunately at the beginning of my HHJ, I didn’t think to take pictures of my bald spots, but believe me, there was nothing there. Now I didn’t know that Cayenne Pepper would work, but I guess it was worth a try.

I started out with a more ‘complex’ mix, containing oil, ground cayenne pepper, paprika, and water. I would put my ingredients in a small tupperware bowl. It was not exactly complex, but because I did not measure my ingredients, it was a little tough trying to get the right consistency. As I like it to be a loose paste. I liked it to be thick enough to not drip, but loose enough to spread/apply on my scalp.  I started out using this mix for an half hour, without a cap, 2-3 times a week. I then also use to save my batch, I use to leave it on a shelf, and it would dry out, and to reuse, I’d just add a little water and mix with my finger.

(The mix can also can be refrigerated, if you decide to leave it on a shelf, do not cover, last time I did that, it molded lol)

I now use a much simpler version, just ground cayenne pepper and water. I have a lot less trouble getting the consistency I want, and I feel I am getting better results as the cayenne pepper is alone. I now only use cayenne 1-2 times a week, if I do two treatments I usually will only do 2 hours at a time with a shower/plastic cap, if I only do it once for the week, I will do 4 hours at a time with a shower/plastic cap. I now make a new batch each time I decide to do a treatment, as I feel it is fresher, and all it’s potency is in tack. It is not necessary though.

It has been couple of months since my last update, so I figured now would be a good time to show you guys my progress. I cannot tell, but maybe you all can.

 (I’m sure those who are following me are like there she goes with that Cayenne Pepper, but I try to explain a little as to why, and how I use it for those who are new to the blog)

I am going to try to keep posting updates every 2-3 months. I hope for those of you like myself, who have bald spots,loosing/thinning hair, that this gives you the courage to try Cayenne Pepper!

I have been slacking lately with doing my Cayenne Treatments, but I trying to get back on the ball, and have these spots fully filled in by the end of next year.

Until Next Time, Naomi~

Natural Hair In The Work Place

I’ve come to realize that this is subject that is always being debated among naturals,relaxed, and texlaxed sistas alike. After becoming natural, I realized how taboo it is for naturals to rock a fro in the office. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with someone who is natural to color or straighten their hair (every once in a while), but I find that many naturals are uncomfortable wearing their hair as is to an interview or to the office and I understand completely.

I went to an interview not too long ago, and all the staff (from what I could tell), were Caucasian, which did not bother me. My hair gotten a little wild during the day, but I wore my hair in a braid out, with a headband. It still looked neat for the most part. I was interviewed by two people, and from the impressions I received from both, I assumed I had a good chance of getting the position, but for some reason, I feel like how I wore my hair had a lot to do with why I did not get hired. Of course there is no way of knowing this for sure, but that is my take on it, because was more than qualified for the position.

I for one, find it really hurtful, that those from other races, including some naturals/relaxed people feel that natural African American hair is inappropriate in the work place. Of course I know there are people out there who could care less how I chose to grow or wear my hair, and I am most thankful for those people! However, there are those who are not so forgiving. I believe it is that way because African American’s have been relaxing our hair for so long, to cater to what society feels is acceptable (of course now it really can be just a preference) it is like people forgot what it looks like naturally. I find that the only way it is, is if  your hair is type 3 and above, and because of this, it has caused a lot of inner hate in the African Comunnity. In my opinion this is where the “Curly/Straight hair is good hair” mentality came from.

Of course I cannot speak for everyone, and I know not all feel this way, and chose to relax just because it is a preference. I think that is perfectly fine, but I do not like that some feel it is the only way, or that African American hair cannot grow if it is not relaxed, among many other silly stereotypes that are out there.

What has also come to my attention is that those with locked/dredlocked hair are not accepted or discriminated against as well, on my home forum, we were discussing an article about a teen in Floria was banned from attending his homecoming because of his locks. They said it went against school policy, however, this so called policy was not actually written, so in other words, it did not exist, although it is commonly enforced. In the article the teen stated “I thought it was acceptable, but from what the principal told me homecoming is of a higher standard and dreads are just not acceptable.”

I feel like we were all made and look different for a reason, and by society only accepting straight hair, it makes it so that we all look the same. We were created differently for a reason, but we should all be treated equally. Is that not what we fought so hard for, yet, we are still being discriminated against. My question is, will it ever stop?

Since that is a question that cannot be answered, I feel that at the end of the day, we have to live with the people we chose to be, and the decisions we make at the end of the day, and I say do what makes you happy, or comfortable, you can’t live your life for others. Anyway, that is just my opinion on the matter. You guys are more than welcome to tell me your take on the situation, good or bad. I just feel like it is something I needed to bring to light.

Until Next Time, Naomi~

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