Saturday, December 31, 2011

Unsure about my journey

Britpopprincess from Youtube has announced that she was ending her hair journey. She explained that it just wasn't that important anymore and that she wanted to have fun with her hair. She wanted to straighten it when she wanted, she wanted to colour it if she wanted. She was no longer enjoying being on a journey. She went further by getting a bone straight relaxer, rather than texlaxing and cut her hair short. I know a lot of the people who follow her were shocked but in a way I understood what she was saying.

I have to admit I am no longer having fun with my hair. It seems like such a chore. Now it could be because of my major set back and the fact that I can't stop from chopping off my hair. I am frustrated with it and it is no longer fun. I am tired of always dealing with new growth and tired of wearing my hair up. I feel as if I am stuck in a rut.

Half of me wants to run to a hairdresser and say "Just make it bone straight and chop it off" and the other half of me, that very goal-oriented individual, says I can't give up because I have a goal in mind. So while I debate whether I should just cut off or not I have decided on interim measures.

The first of these interim measures is saying goodbye to long stretches. I cannot deal with it anymore. When I first started my journey I felt I needed to work my way up to 6 month stretches. Now I am just tired of it. I am tired of poofy roots that don't cooperate and fuzzy edges that refuse to lay flat or break off when I do find a product that can lay them down. I have never been one to relax at 6 weeks. My mom would let me get my hair relaxed once every school term and once I started working, I would relax every 8 weeks. This went well until my hair broke off during a freak accident while deep conditioning. I have decided from now own that I will texlax my hair every 9-10 weeks.

Prior to my hair journey I was a fan of the half up, half down style. I set my hair every night with my Pink Oil Moisturiser and would sleep in the rollers so that I could have a cute, curly style everyday. After my breakage incident I braided my hair for two years while my hair was regrowing and never had to bother with styling my hair. Once I started my hair journey I was hooked on protective styles. Now I am clueless when it comes to styling my hair when it is down. I never like how it turns out and I end up putting it up. From next year I will not be protective styling as much as I used to. I fully intend to enjoy my hair. After all when I reached grazing BSL in 2010 I never even got to enjoy the fact that my hair was that long as I never left it out. I am currently practising with flexi rods each time I wash my hair to see how I can perfect that type of set. From next year I will also be experimenting with different sized rollers to get different looks.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

1" growth in 7 weeks?

I will be 7 weeks post on Friday 31st December and I feel like I am at least 12 weeks post. Tonight I detangled my hair and then took a look at the shedded strands. To my amazement when I looked at the new growth section of my shedded hair, it would appear that I have grown at least 1 inch since I last relaxed on November 12th. I was really taken aback. How could I have grown that much hair?

I know it does not sound extraordinary as the average growth rate is 1/2 inch a month but for me it is a lot. See I am usually a slow grower; I usually average 1 inch every 12 weeks. Therefore an inch in seven weeks is unheard of, for me.

Of late I have been addicted to two things: almonds and carrots. I have been making an effort to eat healthy since August of this year in an attempt to solve my battle with adult acne. While I get at least 5-9 fruits and vegetables a day, I have found myself drawn to two foods which I must have at least once a day. I eat a lot of carrots these days. In fact I eat about one carrot a day. I know it sounds weird to be addicted to a vegetable but I don't feel right if I don't eat my carrots. LOL. I also adore raw almonds and can eat a small bag of them in one sitting.

Could this have contributed to my recent growth spurt?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Chop, chop, chop

I am tired of my thin, relaxed ends and so I have cut my hair twice since Friday! I chopped off some of the thinner ends on Friday and then today I cut off even more. At this point I think it is just better to start over with a fresh cut. No real need to hold onto those ends just because I am desperate for length. My texlaxed hair looks a lot thicker and better than the thin ends. This means that I have lost even more length but at this point I don't really mind. I will focus on length in 2012.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 20th: Bi-monthly Check In

I have decided to do a length check every other month. The purpose of this is for me to have a means of tracking my hair's progress or lack thereof. My hair grows at the rate of about 0.42 inches a month which is under the typical 0.5 inches a month. However, if I do retain my length then I should see a gradual change in growth. I am thinking I will need to make my own length check T-shirt so that I can get a better measurement rather than eyeballing it.
I am almost 6 weeks post and to get my texlaxed hair straight I rollerset with small rollers then did a saran wrap last night. I cross wrapped my hair overnight and then took pictures this morning.
These are my December check in shots

In my October picture which is the first picture my hair is flat ironed. In the November and December pictures my hair is roller set on small rollers and then wrapped. I think doing it that way was a mistake because I cannot really tell what my hair looks like in its straightest form. It seems my hair lays flat only when my hair is flat-ironed. I will probably flat iron my hair for the New Year and see how it looks. In any case my hair grows slowly so I would not expect my hair to be anymore than 1 inch longer after three months.

Monday, December 19, 2011

To stretch or not to stretch (for extended periods of time)

When I first began my hair journey I believed that I had to follow to the T the regimen of ladies who had had great success. If they said "Use this product" I bought that product. If they said "Wash once a week" I washed once a week and when they said "Stretch your relaxer" I was on the stretch bandwagon.

My hair in a half up half down bantu knot out. You can see the difference between the texlaxed hair and the new growth.

I have always been a stretcher even before I knew what that was. When I first began relaxing as a tween my mom always let me get a fresh relaxer at the beginning of each school term which worked out to be no more than 3 times a year. Even in my days when I did not even know about deep conditioning I always stretched and never had breakage at the line of demarcation. My problem was that my ends would constantly break off.

Skip a few years later when I joined the virtual black hair care community and heard about all the benefits of stretching. I came across so many ladies so stretched for 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 24 weeks and even 52 weeks. I figured "Ok, I can do this" and so I began to stretch, increasing each relaxer by a week and before I knew it I was stretching for 16 weeks and even went up to 24 weeks.

I understand the benefits of stretching. A lot of people believe that stretching will help you get longer hair but that is a bit incorrect. It's the same way people say muscle ways more than fat when really and truly a pound of fat weighs the same as pound of muscle, it just looks different. If my hair grows 1/2 a month and I relax every 8 weeks at the end of 6 months I would have 3 inches (if I retained my length). I would have the same amount of growth if I stretched for 6 months. No more, no less.

The real benefit of stretching is giving your hair a break from the harsh chemicals. When you stretch you lessen the chance of severely overlapping the relaxer because it is impossible to prevent relaxer overlap. I know people believe they can but in reality they can't. To do this you would need to be very, very precise not just in the application of the relaxer but in the smoothing process. Everyone overlaps when they smooth.

I learnt this from an article I read by Audrey Sivasothy. I can't find the article online so I will paraphrase.

The idea is that every time you relax you overlap a bit and you create a weak point in your hair. Let's say you relax every 6 weeks in any given year you will be relaxing at least 8 times. If you grow 6 inches a year those 6 inches will have 8 weak spots. A strand of your hair would therefore look like this:-


Now if you decide to stretch 16 weeks in one year, or about three times for the year then those 6 inches would look like this:-


There is no guarantee that your hair will break off in these areas but you should be aware that your hair is weaker in these spots. This is what made me want to stretch my relaxers for as a long as I possibly could. However of late I have been rethinking long stretches. After 10 weeks my new growth tends to not want to cooperate with me. My styling options become limited and I let the hair dictate the pace. To be honest I have been feeling stuck in a rut. I texlax my hair but most time I am rocking two textures. My new growth starts showing from about Week 5 and so for the next 7 to 11 weeks I deal with new growth and texlaxed ends. I rarely flat iron my hair so I just deal with it. My styling options are limited and to be entirely honest, I don't look that cute.

Of late I have been asking myself why do I chemically process my hair if most of the time I don't chemically process my hair, if that makes sense. I feel anxious about reducing the amount of time I stretch but I am going to be on my the active growing part of my journey for another two years if I am to reach my ultimate goal of WL. The question is am I really going to allow myself to endure this struggle time and time again for the next two years?

I have just completed my 5th week and I have really been contemplating texlaxing somewhere between 10 to 12 weeks post. I have not made up my mind but I do know it won't be any longer than 12 weeks.

Operation Stop Looking Like a Hot Mess: I give up

Yesterday's purchase was the Luster's Renutrients Slick Stick. I will start off by saying that I was willing to give this product a chance although it contains petrolatum and mineral oil. I was however willing to look past it if it actually worked. Alas it did not. Like most products for my edges, it worked for the first 5-10 minutes and after it was back to normal.

I have realised that my major issue is my baby hair. These hairs curl and point upwards at the same time. They respond easily when I apply a gel or a pomade and I can smooth it back with relative ease. My baby hairs actually become straight, however, within 5 minutes I can see them start to curl once more and by the 10th minute they are back to normal. One would not even think I had ever made an attempt at slicking them down.

So what is a girl to do? I suppose I will have to learn to accept them. This is my hair and no matter which method or product I use my baby hairs will continue to do what is in their nature to do. I know it looks better when it is all slicked back and not fuzzy but the only product which ever worked to date broke off the hair at my temples. I am just going to have to accept it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Organic Root Stimulator brings out the product junkie in me

I was already fearful my search to find the perfect product to control my edges would lead me back into product junkie territory and now today I just realised that ORS has brought out a new line! ORS is really killing it this year. I believe they are actually taking note of the black hair care virtual community by the new products they are creating and the terms that they are using.

The newest creation is the HAIRepair line which includes a deep conditioner, an oil, a moisturiser creme and an anti-breakage creme. I am really excited to test all the products. Yes, all because I do love Organic Root Stimulator. The products are reasonably priced and they work really well. Some of my staple hair products are from Organic Root Stimulator.

The one thing that I don't like is that they never post the entire ingredient listing on the website. They boast of the ingredients which are really good for your hair but this never answers the most important question for me which is if there is mineral oil or petrolatum in their products. ORS, like most lines intended for black hair, tends to have these ingredients in their products. Some still love them but I rather stay away from them. It is just a personal choice.

As usual ORS is offering free samples of this line to US residents. Unfortunately I am ineligible for this offer given that I live in the Caribbean. Hopefully those of you who can request a free sample like the products. Click the link to answer a survey and receive a free sample.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Operation Stop Looking Like a Hot Mess continued: Olive and Sunflower Oil Edge Tamer

One of the disadvantages of living in Trinidad while on a Hair Journey is that you cannot find certain products. I really have not succumbed to the temptation of ordering products online instead trying to make do with what we have here, but there are times when I am frustrated.

In my last post I spoke about two products that I wanted to try to see if they would be successful in laying down my edges. I went to the largest beauty supply store chain in Trinidad and unfortunately could not find what I wanted.

I told the attendant the purpose of my visit and my frustration with the stiff, gel like products which broke the hair off at my temples. She suggested the Olive and Sunflower Oil Edge Tamer by Sofn'free n'pretty and I decided to try it because I was sold when she showed me the consistency.

In terms of its consistency, it looks creamy but not as creamy as a moisturiser and also reminds me of the ORS Pudding. It is also very thick and when I shake the jar or tilt it to one side it does not move. It has a slightly oily feel to it given that the 2nd and 3rd ingredients are oils. I applied a bit to my hairline and then used a soft toothbrush to brush just my edges. I was not too impressed with the result. It was an improvement from the way I had been rocking it but it could not match the power of the Hicks or the ORS Edge Control.

It has now been a few hours since I first applied it and I am not convinced that it is the solution to my problems. I will try apply it again tonight and tie a scarf around it to see if it needs to be set overnight to work.

My next attempt will be the Lusters Slick Stick. I am a bit concerned that I am reentering product junkie mode. Let's hope I love the Slick Stick and I don't need to try anything else.One of the disadvantages of living in Trinidad while on a Hair Journey is that you cannot find certain products. I really have not succumbed to the temptation of ordering products online instead trying to make do with what we have here, but there are times when I am frustrated.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Operation Stop Looking Like a Hot Mess a.k.a. my attempt to lay down my edges

My edges have always been crazy. Even when I was natural I would have baby hair that would just stick up no matter what I did. It would stand up and curl leaving me with a fluffy hairline.

I first tried the scarf method which only worked the first 10 minutes after I took off the scarf.

My hair using the scarf method

I tried gel to tame my edges but I hated how hard it would make my hair feel and the fact that my hair looked and felt crunchy. I then tried a clear pomade by Hicks which worked really well until it began to break off the hair by my temples.

My results when using Hicks

I stopped using the Hicks and re-entered frizzy hairline territory until a few months later when I purchased the ORS Edge Control which has the same consistency of the Hicks. I then remembered that the Hicks had broken off my edges and I stopped using the ORS and resigned myself to having frizzy edges until today that is.

I was in the mall today and happened to glimpse at my hair in a huge mirror and noticed that I looked a hot mess. My edges were looking crazy and although I had my hair in the cutest updo the front of my hair was not cute.

After much research online I have decided to test two products which seem to have a consistency which is unlike the Hicks and ORS edge tamer options. I am a bit uncomfortable as both of these products contain mineral oil. I have been anti-mineral oil and petrolatum since I began my hair journey but I am willing to give it a try. The products I will be testing are the Motions Shine Enhancing Pomade and the TCB Lite Hair and Scalp Conditioner. I will be applying them solely to my edges and will moisturise my edges with a proper moisturiser before applying these new products.

Reviews and pictures to follow.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Air Drying Chronicles continued

I have been revisiting airdrying but putting my own spin on it. You can click here for my original post on how I air dry my texlaxed hair.

Since that post I have been attempting to perfect that method and get my hair to dry a bit straighter. I noticed that if I moisture and seal my damp hair and then cross wrap I get perfectly straight results. It is as straight as when I roller set and go under the dryer. The only thing I am trying to work on is fighting the poof in the centre of my head. I use a mesh wrap cap which has an opening on the top.

To try and solve this problem I went online to see if there are any mesh wrap caps. Unfortunately I couldn't find any which was very disappointing. I think my hair dries faster because I use a mesh wrap. I think my hair would take a lot longer to dry with a fabric that is non-breathable. What I eventually found was a wave cap that guys would use. Now I am not sure if this will work or not but I will be heading to the beauty supply store on Monday to see if I can purchase one of these or something similar.

I also wanted to mention why I like cross wrapping as opposed to other wrapping methods. Personally I find that wrapping damp hair in the clockwise method would be using more manipulation than I would be comfortable with. When I cross wrap my damp hair I detangle it in the shower under the running water and that is the last time I use the comb. I smooth the hair with my fingers, part it in half and cross wrap. Straight hair and very little manipulation. Relaxed hair is the most fragile when it is wet so I rather not manipulate it too much.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Trying out a new shampoo

This year I have been trying to find a regimen that works for me. I have made an effort to cut out cones or if I must use cones then I prefer that they are listed at the bottom of the ingredients listing rather than in the top 3. I have also gone back to sulphate shampoos. I know, I know. Sulphates are bad but build up was what was causing me to have set backs. I started my hair journey in January 2009 at NL by December 2009, I was grazing APL. In 2010 I struggled to get past APL and was even grazing BSL for a short while but eventually my hair gradually broke off and I remained at APL. In 2011, I lost length and had to trim to just above APL. Clearly something was not working for me.

I decided to combat build up by using sulphate shampoos once more. After all, I had had success with them when I first started my journey. I was using a Tresemme Shampoo which was being touted as low sulphates but then someone commented on my review of the product saying that the shampoo contained ammonium lauryl sulphate and ammonium laureth sulphate which are some of the harshest sulphates around. I did more research on it and realised that she was right. I then did even more research and found out that if you must use sulphates then it is best to just stick with one sulphate and the weaker version which is sodium laureth sulphate.

Last week I purchased the Optimum Oil Therapy Ultimate Recovery Shampoo by Softsheen Carson.

This is the description of the shampoo and its ingredients.

Featuring micro-oil technology, which penetrates hair with micro-beads of natural oils to help nourish, repair, strengthen and protect hair. Cleanses, instantly softens and revitalizes dry, damage prone hair.

The benefits:

    • Nourishes hair with natural extracts of coconut, olive, avocado, and jojoba
    • Detangles and tames unruly hair
    • Rescues and smooths damaged hair shaft
    • Removes all styling residue without stripping
    • Restores intense moisturization from root to tip
Aqua (Water) , Sodium Laureth Sulfate , Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate , Sodium Chloride , Glycol Distearate , Glycerin , Cocamide MIPA , Disodium Ricinoleamido MEA-Sulfosuccinate , Polyquaternium-10 , Carbomer , Fragrance , Disodium EDTA , Methylparaben , DMDM Hydantoin , Sodium Hydroxide , Butylphenyl Methylpropional , Isopropanolamine , Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde , Amyl Cinnamal , Benzyl Salicylate , Olea Europaea Oil (Olive Fruit Oil) , 2-Oleamido-1 , 3-Octadecanediol , Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Seed Oil) , Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut Oil) , Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado Oil) , Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
I really like this shampoo. It cleans my hair and doesn't strip it. Granted my hair does not feel as clean as when I used the Tresemme shampoo, but it does not feel coated as it did in the period leading up to my setback. What surprised me about the shampoo was that it had a silky finish to it. It almost reminded me of the texture of the Creme of Nature sulphate-free shampoos. I believe it was just a bit thinner than the Creme of Nature.
Again I must find fault with companies which list oils and natural ingredients to the bottom of the ingredient listing and then focus on the benefit of these oils. The oils are listed after the fragrance which means there is probably almost no oil in this shampoo. In spite of that, it does its job and leaves my hair smooth and it cleans without stripping, which is what I am after.
My hair continues to do well. I no longer suffer from dry, straw like strands which refused to respond to both moisture and protein. My hair is shiny and full of body and although I am two weeks post, I still find that my hair has that just relaxed look which I would usually lose after the first wash. I think I will continue using sulphates.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Leaving my hair out

I have never been great at styling my hair. In high school people knew me as the girl with "interesting hairstyles" which was a euphemism for the fact that I looked like I did not know what I was doing.

This is why I am really grateful to Youtube. I have learned so many techniques for styling my hair in protective hairstyles. However, sometimes you want to leave your hair down and this is where I falter. I don't know what to do with my hair when I let it down. I usually part my hair to the side and leave it out, but generally I do not like the results and I end up doing a cute updo.

My braid outs and bantu knot outs never come out like the girls I see on Hairlista or even on Youtube even if I use their methods. I had success one time with a flexi rod set.

My only successful flexi-rod set

My goal is to master the bantu-knot out, the braid out and the steam roller set. I do not leave my hair out very often, usually only for special occasions but I would still like to be able to look cute when my hair is out. In the next few weeks to come I will be trying these styles out and posting photos whether they have been successful or not.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The air drying chronicles: How I air dry my texlaxed hair

Air drying has always been a complete fail for me. I have tried every method in the book to air dry my texlaxed strands and usually end up look a hot mess. I decided to give up on airdrying this year because it was not working for me. I relented because sometimes you just do not have the time to roller set your hair and spend 30-45 minutes under the dryer waiting for it to dry.

I have three methods for airdrying which vary in terms of drying time and degree of straightness:

If I desire the bone straight look then I air dry in 3 inch rollers which are the largest size I have been able to find. My hair will dry in about 3 hours using this method.

If I am going for a curly look when hair is about 80 percent try I put it in six flexi rods. I never sleep in flexi rods though as I am paranoid about my hair getting caught in the ends of the rod so I take them out just before bed. This method takes about 2-3 hours as well.

My final method came out of an experiment I tried last night. I was not in the mood to roller set my hair so I decided to cross wrap my damp hair. A cross wrap is when you take your hair and divide it in two down the middle. You criss cross each side of the hair and then pin the ends to the top of your head. I usually add a mesh wrap and then remove the pins. It is a better method than the regular circular method as it is easier on your edges. I left my hair in the wrap overnight and this morning when I let it down, I had a satisfactory result. Granted, it was not straight but it did not go all Diana Ross on me, which is what I would call a success. Best part is that a cross wrap takes less than 5 minutes.

You can see my results below. My texlaxed texture is definitely evident but it has not poofed. It is pretty good if I am bunning or doing a cute updo.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Product Review: Organic Root Stimulator Carrot Oil

I was first introduced to this product in 2006 by a hairdresser who almost had a fit when I told her I never deep conditioned my hair and I rarely moisturised. These were the days when hair journey was not a part of my vocabularly and I was completely ignorant of the need to create a hair care regimen. I started using this product and deep conditioning and was having success with my hair until I had a traumatic breakage incident.

Two years later, when I finally started my hair journey after braiding my hair for two years during the regrowth process, I remembered this product and began using it as my daily moisturiser. I had no real complaints, I rather loved the product. I stopped using it and switched to S-Curl and Wave Nouveau because I saw girls such as Sunshyne from Hairlista raving about it. In those early days of my HJ I truly believed that it was products that grew your hair and so I wanted to use everything that the girls with long hair were using. This didn't quite work for me and so now I am back to my old friend.

ORS Carrot Oil has a really lovely colour which reminds me of custard, a dessert from my childhood days which is really popular in Trinidad. It has that yellow, creamy consistency and looks good enough to eat! The scent is mild but it is distinct. You are either going to not mind it or hate it. I don't mind it but I have read reviews in which ladies could not tolerate it. That being said, it is mild and you don't smell it once it is in your hair.

What I like about the product is that a little goes a long way. I use it to moisturise the length of my hair, paying particular attention to the ends. I then seal with coconut oil although coconut oil is the third ingredient in the product. It is a light product which does not weigh down your hair unless you are quite heavy handed with product as I tend to be. It is non-greasy and imparts your hair with a lovely shine.

My hair is very fine so I don't go more than 2 days without washing my hair or I find that my hair gets weighed down by daily moisturising and sealing even if I go at it with a relatively light hand. I usually moisturise at night, put my hair in two bantu knots and in the morning, I can take out the bantu knots and have pretty waves. I find that my hair keeps that well moisturised feel for the entire day.

Here is the listing of the ingredients:

Water (Aqua) , Glycine Soja Oil (Soybean) , Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut) , Sorbitol , Isopropyl Palmitate , PEG-25 Hydrogenated Castor Oil , Cetearyl Alcohol , Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate , Cetyl Esters , Lanolin , Carthamus Tinctorius Oil (Safflower) , Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil , Daucus Carota Sativa Seed Oil (Carrot) , Glyeryl Linoleate , Dimethicononl Methionine , Urtica Dioica Extract (Nettle) , Cholesterol , Dimethicone , Fragrance , Benzyl Salicylate , Cinnamic Alcohol , Citronellol , Coumarin , Eugenol , Geraniol , Hexyl Cinnamal , Hydroxycitronellal , d-Limonene , Linalool , DMDM Hydantoin , Methylchloroisothiazolinone , Methylisothiazolinone , Carbomer , Methylparaben , Imidazolidinyl Urea , BHT , Triethanolamine , Propylparaben

The product is mineral oil and petrolatum free which is great as I do not use these products. It does contain some dimethicone which is an ingredient I have had trouble with and which caused my set back. I am not too concerned because that ingredient is listed right before the fragrance, so it must have a very little quantity and in any case, I am now using a light sulphate shampoo. All in all, I am in love with this moisturiser and will not be reaching for any other.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Product Review: TRESemmé Naturals Moisture Shampoo

TRESemmé Naturals Moisture Shampoo

I bought this shampoo and matching conditioner set because I found that sulphate-free shampoos were not cleansing my hair as well as I wanted. I am still unsure if I will continue the sulphate route as I know that they can be stripping to the hair.

According to the TRESemmé website:

  • Formulas with USDA certified organic Aloe Vera and Avocado, hydrate hair naturally and protect against breakage and damage.
  • Hair will feel 10X stronger after just one use.*
  • Our natural formula will improve the vitality and health of your hair, leaving hair incredibly soft and healthy looking.

The TRESemmé Naturals Moisture Shampoo is described on the bottle as being lower in sulphates which was the selling point for me. The shampoo has a light, fruity scent which is pleasant.

The ingredients are as follows: Water (Aqua), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Lauryl Glucoside, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Fragrance (Parfum), Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Ammonium Chloride, Propylene Glycol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, DMDM Hydantoin, Citric Acid, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Quaternium-80, Bisamino PEG/PPG-41/3 Aminoethyl PG-Propyl Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Alcohol, PEG-18 Glyceryl Oleate/Cocoate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Polyquaternium-7. USDA Certified Organic Extracts: Aloe Vera, Sweet Orange, and Avocado

I first used this shampoo when my hair was suffering from severe build up and was in need of moisture and protein. My first impression after shampooing my hair was that my hair felt like I had just relaxed it. I was at least 14 weeks post at this time. It was incredible that my hair had that just relaxed feeling! Another thing I noticed was that while my hair felt clean, it also felt moisturised. It definitely did not feel stripped of moisture. I am just a few days post-relaxer but I definitely still have that just relaxed today feel. It is definitely going to be a staple in my regimen unless I decide to go back to the non-sulphate route.

There are just a few things that I do not like about this shampoo. Given that it is touted as a "natural line" I was a bit unhappy that the natural ingredients are at the bottom of ingredients listing which means that the product barely contains any of these ingredients. I also realised that the shampoo also contains "Aminoethyl PG-Propyl Dimethicone." This concerns me a bit as I had a run in with dimethicone. I am still trying to figure out whether this cone in this formulation is water soluble or not. In any case it is listed low down in the list. In my cone drama my products had dimethicone listed in the first 2-5 ingredients.

All in all, I would still say this has been a pretty good product for my hair and I will keep using it as long as my hair maintains the freshly relaxed feel and look.

Monday, November 14, 2011

9.5 inches more

I measured from the current limits of the length of my hair to my ultimate goal of WL hair and I realised I just have 9.5 more inches to go. That doesn't seem like an impossible goal. Growing 9.5 inches of hair will not be the hard part. The hard part will be retaining what I already have on my head.

My short term goal of BSB (Below Shoulder Blade) is just about three inches away and my medium term goal is MBL (and also BSL for me due to my proportions) which is 5 inches away.

My growth rate is currently 0.4167 inches a month which is a bit under the average rate of 0.5 inches a month. I worked this out by looking at a shedded strand of hair when I was 12 weeks or 3 months post relaxer. At that point I had about 1.25 inches of new growth. I will test my growth rate again right before I relax at 12 weeks post.

Now I know this is not an exact science. I am, in fact, guestimating, but I am going to make a rough estimate of when I will hit my goals at this growth rate.

3" of growth= 7 months to BSB or June 2012

5" of growth= 12 months to MBL/BSL or November 2012

9.5" of growth=23 months to WL or October 2013

Now I know that my hair can get to BSB as I have been there before. My challenge is going to be retention of my ends. I will ensure that I continue to have a proper diet to ensure my hair is getting all of the nutrients it needs to grow healthy. I will not be using topical growth aids as I don't believe they are necessary. Hair grows no matter what we do. I will be paying particular attention to the ends of my hair to ensure I meet my goals.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I texlaxed my hair!

I know my original plan was to texlax at 18 weeks but I couldn't hold out anymore. I did a medium protein treatment on Monday and fought the itch to wash my hair and finally texlaxed today at 17 weeks and 1 day post.

It went well. I parted my hair in 4 sections and applied coconut oil to the length of my hair and then based the partings the with sofn'free Pre Relaxer Base with Olive Oil. I then used my relaxer staple which is the ORS Olive Oil Relaxer in Normal.

I texlax my hair in sections. I do the front sections first, rinse out the relaxer with water and then do the back. The back and front of my hair are different textures with the back processing a lot quicker than the front. I smooth with my gloved fingers which helps me get a texlaxed result rather than a bone straight result.

After I rinsed my hair with water to remove the relaxer on the surface of my hair, I applied my ORS Hair Mayonnaise and left it in my hair while I cleaned up the materials I used while relaxing. I will usually leave the conditioner in my hair anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. The cuticle is still open at this point so the protein in the conditioner can be easily absorbed.

The next step was to neutralise. I did this twice. The first time I worked the shampoo into my hair in a downward movement. I then left the shampoo on for 2-3 minutes. I rinsed and then shampooed once more and left the shampoo in my hair for another 2-3 minutes. After that I deep conditioned with my ORS Hair Mayonnaise which I prefer to use after a relaxer rather than the ORS Replenishing Pak.

Normally I airdry and then flat iron my hair but seeing that I had flat ironed less than 4 weeks ago I was not too keen to put direct heat into my hair so soon. I instead decided to roller set my hair and let it airdry. I can get my texlaxed hair pretty straight with an airdried roller set once my hair is soaking wet when I roller set it. I use a spray bottle filled with water to saturate each section before rolling it. A few hours later after my hair had dried, I cross wrapped my hair. I will be taking it down tomorrow and will post photos of my hair.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Throwing in the stretching towel

I had originally planned on stretching 6 months and relaxing in December. My plans have since changed. I was 16 weeks post on Friday and my new growth is not cooperating. My hair has begun to coil around itself. I will take my time and unloose the coil by the next day the coils have once more appeared. My new texlax date is now November 18th which would put me at 17 weeks post. I think from now on I will be sticking to a 12-14 week stretch. I am excited to see if my hair has kept up the blunt edges from my last trim.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Science of Black Hair

I finally got my copy of the ultimate guide for black hair care: The Science of Black Hair by Audrey Sivasothy. Being that I am not in the US I opted for the Kindle version of the book as I liked the idea of immediate delivery. I will eventually purchase the actual book but the electronic version will work for now. Plus you can't beat the $9.99 price.

Did my online transaction at a few minutes past 1 in the morning and was too excited not to take a look at the book before bed. I did a bit of skimming but fully intend to go back and read it from cover to cover. I don't want to miss anything as this book is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to black hair care.

I don't have a Kindle, but I did download Kindle for PC which is an application Amazon allows you to download so that you can view Kindle products. I love it; it allows you to highlight which is great. I would like to share with you a few lines which I highlighted while reading. Made me realise I should have bought this book earlier as it would have saved me the 5 or so inches that I cut off this year, not to mention what broke off.

It says "Product build up on the shaft is also a leading cause of ambiguous hair breakage that cannot be explained by moisture or protein imbalances." and "Silicone-burdened hair has a heavy, coated feel to it, and its straw-like dryness makes it prone to breakage. When silicones build up on the hair shaft, they can begin to mimic traditional oils. They seal and coat the hair shaft, preventing moisture from getting through to where it is needed." Audrey goes on to talk about the different types of silicones (water soluble or water insoluble) and highlights the importance of clarifying your hair when you use what she refers to as "stubborn silicones."

I understand my mistake now. Before it was an informed guess and now I got confirmation. I think there is so much information out there encouraging you to stay away from sulphates, mineral oil and petrolatum but no one tends to talk about the dangers of "cones" especially if you are not a person who clarifies regularly.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fifteen weeks post and plans for the future

Friday marked the beginning of the 15th week of my stretch. I did a 6 month stretch earlier this year which ended in July and while I didn't have any major issues with my line of demarcation, my problem was I did not retain any length due to my cone overload.

I have decided to stretch for another 6 months. I was originally scheduled to texlax in October but based on the fact that I was not happy with the condition of my hair I did not want to tempt fate and put a relaxer in my hair. I decided to keep stretching and my 15th week came by without me even realising it. Now that I have sorted things out and my hair is doing a lot better, I have decided to keep the stretch going. What I have noticed is that deep conditioning my hair three times a week has really helped my new growth keep soft and manageable and, most importantly, well moisturised.

I am not expecting any major change in length when I do finally texlax in December for Christmas, crossing my fingers for a little less than an inch. I am hoping for a visible change in April 2012 which will be six months from my trim in October which is the starting point of my new hair journey. My growth is a little below average so I am hoping to grow and retain about 2 1/2 inches.

My next update will be in December when I texlax and flat iron. From January 2012 I will be doing length checks every other month. This would mean I will be flat ironing my hair every other month and posting pics. This way I will be able to determine if I am gaining inches or losing. I don't usually flat iron, but I suppose 6 times a year is not too terrible and I only ever do it after I have used a protein based deep conditioner.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Learning more about cones

I have been doing a lot of research on "cones." I have realised that my hair is sensitive to dimethicone which is apparently a very resistant cone. Unfortunately I had been using products full of this cone all through 2011 which is why my hair began to break off. I was deep conditioning and moisturising and sealing and still was not retaining my length. If you do use products with dimethicone then it is necessary to use a shampoo containing sulphates, which is something I was not doing.

What I have learnt is that not all cones are made alike. There are three different types of cones. You have your typicaldimethicone which is not water soluble and does not evaporate. Then you have your cones which are not water soluble but evaporate from your hair within a few hours of application such as cyclomethicone and finally you have water soluble cones such as dimethicone copolyol.

Although I have sworn off of cones, I still do like to flat iron my hair each time I get a touch up which is about 4 times a year. Now most heat protectants contain a host of cones. I have found a few discussions on the hair forums regarding cone free heat protectants. I suppose it won't be that terrible to use a heat protectant with cones just four times a year. I will have to wash my hair with a sulphate shampoo to ensure I have removed the cones. I am trying to simplify this hair journey which can get so complicated at times.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Deep conditioning with oil: Wet or Dry Hair

I have always seen ladies oil their dry hair prior to shampooing. This is what I would always do as well, but today I decided to do it a bit differently. I was thinking about putting the oil in my dirty hair and then deep conditioning and the idea seemed a bit odd to me. Instead, I decided to shampoo my hair and then apply my oils. I noticed a few things which I would like to share.

My hair seemed to be able to take more oil damp than dry. Normally when my hair is dry I have to be careful how much oil I add or I would turn into an oily mess with the oil running down my neck and down my back. Damp hair really seemed to suck up the oil. I was able to put a shower cap on and repaint my bathroom walls and not once did the oil run down my neck and back. I finally washed out my hair about three hours later and my hair was not oily. My hair felt soft and was silky to the touch.

I always get a soft and silky feel to my hair when I add oil to dry hair, but this time the feeling was more intense. I shampooed it out and was still loving how my hair felt. I can't understand it though because oil and water do not mix. I have been looking online and some people prefer damp hair and others prefer dry hair. It does seem to be a matter of personal preference. I can't actually find an explanation why it would work on wet hair when I should think that the fact that the hair is wet would prevent the oil from being absorbed? I have no idea actually. If anyone has any theories on this, please let me know.

Are sulphates really the enemy?

Upon starting a Hair Journey you learn pretty quickly that some ingredients are wonderful for your hair and others are to be avoided like the plague. These ingredients tend to be the ubiquitous petrolatum and mineral oil. You also hear about shampoos containing sulphates, some also talk about staying away from cones.

I wholeheartedly agree with petrolatum and mineral oil which seal the hair and prevent it from absorbing moisture. Silicones, I never thought much about until I realised that I made no progress in 2011 from heavy uses of cones such as dimethicone. Sulphates, I stayed away from because I heard how bad they were. Until my cone incident when I desperately needed something to remove the build up from my hair. I turned to the Tresemme Deep Cleansing Shampoo. To be completely honest, I was terrified that it would strip my hair of all moisture, but I was desperate.

Instead of being left with hair looking like straw, I was surprised to be left with hair that definitely felt clean without feeling dry. My wonderful experience made me run out and get a regular shampoo from Tresemme. I ended up with the Tresemme Naturals Moisture Shampoo which has low sulphates. I washed with it and my hair loved it. I added the silcone-free Conditioner and my hair felt smooth and silky, the feel I get when I have freshly relaxed my hair. My hair has never felt like that anytime after I am 2 weeks post. I am a convert. I am no longer anti-sulphates.

I believe I now have a set regimen. I will be sticking with this regimen until December when I will reassess and review my hair's progress.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The cons of cones

I have never really paid much attention to silicones in my hair products. I would instead ensure that my products never contained sulphates (except for my neutralising shampoo), mineral oil and petrolatum. My hair was thriving even though I was using products with cones.

In 2010, I discovered the Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship (HELTR) line and fell in love with their conditioner and leave-in. I loved the leave-in so much that it became my daily conditioner. I was originally using the Neutrogena Silk Touch Leave in, but it soon became scarce. I loved the leave in at first; it made my hair feel divine, but as time went by my hair started feeling dry no matter how much I conditioned it.

One day I was on my way to work and touched my hair and it was so dry, I didn't want to spend an entire day in an air-conditioned building with dry hair and so I stopped off in a pharmacy to find a cheap moisturiser. I loved the one I found and decided to switch to that because at that time the HELTR was difficult to find.

I used that new moisturiser throughout the second half of 2010 until the Neutrogena Leave in was once again available in 2011. I would moisturise and seal my hair every night without fail with wonderful results in the beginning and then I started to dislike how my hair felt. My hair felt coated and regular sulphate free shampoos were not doing the job. I switched to the Herbal Essences Shampoo and still had the same problem.

Jump to July 2011 and my disastrous texlax which showed I had lost length. My ends had broken off without me knowing it. I thought that the HELTR leave in now had too much protein, but I discovered why nothing has been working for me this year. It was the silicones in these products. My Neutrogena Leave in, my HELTR shampoo, conditioner and leave in all have dimethicone which is difficult to wash out of the hair unless you use a very strong stripping shampoo. I was not doing this. I would clarify my hair once every 6 weeks.

The thing about these cones is that they are great for detangling hair and giving the hair shine but eventually they will coat the hair and prevent it from being able to absorb moisture. When you hair can't absorb moisture breakage happens.

Today I clarified my hair and deep conditioned with a silicone free conditioner and my hair feels great.

2011 is pretty much a set back year. I am hoping to get back on track in 2012.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Postponing my October texlax

I am still experiencing breakage of the ends of my hair due to my protein overload. My hair feels odd. It is not happy. Each time I moisturise my hair I get short strands coming out in my hands. It is so frustrating. Based on my current problems, I have decided to postpone my October texlax to a yet to be determined date. I don't want to give my hair any extra stress by exposing it to such a harsh chemical.

Today I went back to S-Curl to moisturise my hair as nothing seems to working. I figured instead of buying something new it would be best to use what I already have. The S-curl worked really well. I moisturised this morning and then I did it again tonight.

My plan is to flat iron my hair next week to see what damage I have sustained from the protein overload. I am dreading it as I am probably going to have to cut my hair. If the ends are as bad as I suspect them to be due to the breakage, they will eventually have to go.

I am really frustrated. I am well on my way to my 3rd hair anniversary and still have not made reached where I want to be. I will be back in a weeks time with current photos of my hair.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Are we doing too much to our hair?

I recently updated my hair care regimen for a few reasons. Firstly, I was experiencing a set back, a product I loved had a new formula which did not agree with my hair and I suffered breakage due to it. I was in the middle of a 6th month stretch and as I was wearing my hair in braid outs and bantu knot outs updos and never straight I didn't notice until I looked at photos of my hair and realised I had lost quite a few inches. The second and third reasons are connected. Reason No. 2 was that I was spending way too much money on products and no. 3 is that my regimen was getting too complicated. I was going through conditioners and oils at a rapid rate and to be honest, I still was not getting the results I wanted.

Today I read an article by Audrey Sivasothy, author of the hugely popular hair care book called "The Science of Black Hair." She recently created a blog, so I follow that as I love anything hair-related. Anyway she was saying that we are doing too much and that it is all unsustainable in the end.

I know in the beginning of my hair journey I would prepoo with oil, put a shower cap on, go under the dryer for 20 minutes, then I would let that cool, then shampoo my hair, do a black tea rinse (when the craze had just begun), then add my conditioner mix to my hair with all the oils I had heard were good for our hair and then some. At one point I was using olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, soybean oil and wheatgerm oil with at least 3-4 different conditioners. I would then apply my mix to my hair like I was applying a relaxer. I would then put on a shower cap deep condition for 45 minutes and then wash that out and finish by roller setting my hair. Wash days took up several hours of my day and a lot of my time. Whew! Can you imagine.

Audrey maintains that all you need to do is cleanse, condition, moisturise followed by sealing and utilise low manipulation in its most basic forms. There is nothing fancy to it. She even says that you don't even need to add all of these oils to your condition, that is optional. She states that a oil/conditioner pre-poo is also optional.

I would agree with her that simple is best. It gets too complicated when you do too much and then your hair will become a chore. I will admit it, there was a time I skipped my mid-week wash because I was tired after returning from a hard day at work and it would have taken too much effort to do all those steps before heading to bed. Plus some of my oils were unable to even penetrate the hair shaft, so they were really a waste.

These days I am trying to keep it simple. I no longer do elaborate mixes to my hair although I still will continue to add coconut oil to my deep conditioner. I no longer deep condition with regular conditioners as I read that regular ones have particles which are too large and cannot penetrate the hair. I will continue to oil my hair before my washes as coconut oil and olive can penetrate the hair strands and can nourish the hair. Other than that, complicated hair regimens and tons of half used products are a no for me.

Diet can affect your hair growth rate

I am generally a slow grower. I had a growth spurt from January to July 2009 when I first began my hair journey. After that it took forever to get anywhere. It usually takes me 12-14 weeks to grow an inch of hair. This would equal between 0.25 to 0.33 inches each month which is below the 0.5 inch a month average. I determine the rate of my hair growth by looking at shedded hairs during a stretch. I stretch out the roots of a shedded hair and I can usually tell where I am at.

Yesterday after washing, I detangled my hair and did a new growth test on a shedded hair. I am exactly 12 weeks post and I was pleasantly surprised to note that after 12 weeks, I had 1.25 inches of hair when stretched out. This means that my growth has increased and is now about 0.42 inches a month. This is pretty exciting for me because this is going to equal 5 inches of growth a year!!! Now all I have to do is retain those inches.

I increased my growth rate through eating a proper diet. I have been eating a lot of beans, peas, vegetables (I aim to eat the rainbow every day ie red, yellow/orange, dark green, purple/blue fruits and vegetables every day). I also snack on nuts ie pecans, walnuts and almonds. I have cut out all processed foods, all foods with added sugar as well as bread. This has not only helped in turning about my skin issues but has also increased the rate at which my hair is growing.

My goal is to see if my rate will continue to increase or if it will plateau at 5 inches a year. So if your hair is not growing properly, try changing the way you eat to see if it will make a difference. After all hair needs vitamins and minerals to be at its best and the only way to get these in your blood stream is through food.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Today I signed into Facebook and in my feed was some great news. Organic Root Stimulator, which is one of my favourite brands, announced that they have created a Hair Masque.

The key ingredients are olive oil, coconut oil and hydrolyzed keratin. That tells me it is a protein treatment. I love the fact that they have added coconut oil as I usually add coconut oil to my ORS replenishing pak (as do a lot of ladies) to make it more conditioning and nourishing for my hair. Looks like ORS is really monitoring what is going on in the online hair community.

I haven't been able to find a list of the other ingredients. I will be on board once it does not contain petrolatum and mineral oil. There conditioners usually do not, so I'm thinking they would not reverse this trend.

ORS is giving away free samples to US residents. All you have to do is fill out their survey.

Mini Hair Product Haul

I am a such product junkie. I will admit it. I have been trying to reform, but sometimes I have a relapse. Lol. Today was one such moment. I went to Pennywise today, a huge cosmetics retail store in Trinidad, which is where I am from. Now I only went to get olive oil oil for my hair when my eyes fell upon two new Garnier products. I think Garnier doesn't get enough love on the hair boards and sites because it is actually an amazing brand. Garnier is paraben-free, petrolatum-free and mineral oil-free and it smells divine. I go through so many bottles of Garnier a year. I love their Triple Nutrition line which boasts shea butter, avocado oil and olive oil. I've been using it to cowash lately.

These are the two products I picked up:

Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Frizz Defeat Deep Treatment. It has argan and apricot oils. It is a conditioner which you apply after shampooing and leave on for 3 minutes.

The next one is the Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Anti Frizz Serum. It also has argan oil and apricot oil in it. What I liked about it is that the third ingredient listed was argan oil. Normally argan oil is listed really low down in most products which claim to contain it.

I'll be using the products today and will be back with a review of them after I use them for about a month.

Update: I am no longer using these products as they contain dimethicone. I have experienced a set back due to heavy use of dimethicone so I am laying off the cones from now on.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hair Oiling until the end of the year

I am rapidly approaching the 3rd anniversary of my hair journey and I cannot say that I am happy with where I am. I lost inches during my 6th month stretch that put me back at my 2010 length. I can't let that get me down though, very few people have an easy journey. I am now trying to focus on rebuilding my hair. I will see what the current state of my hair is when I texlax on October 21st at 14 weeks post. I believe I definitely will have to cut some hair due to the breakage of the ends.

My game plan is to intensify my treatments. I have decided to wash my hair three times a week. Two washes will be a shampoo wash followed by a co-wash. I will deep condition my hair once a week. Before each wash I will apply my oil infusions to my scalp and give myself as massage and then apply the oils to the length of my hair. I am not expecting miracles for my next texlax as I only recently discovered what was happening with my hair. However, I am hoping I will see some progress by the time my December texlax comes around.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Are you having the right type of protein?

This year I am getting serious about reversing the damage I experiencing and not only regaining my lost inches but also growing some additional ones. I know people rave about hair potions and other growth aids which they religiously rub into their scalp, but unfortunately I have never been one for rubbing things on my scalp. I have seen progress pictures, but I really don't like it and therefore I don't have the motivation to do it.

I need to make some changes to my reggie though. Instead of adding complicated steps to it (after all, my hair can't control my life), I am just going to try to make them more effective. I have decided to reintroduce hot oil treatments to my hair. When I first started my journey I did them as pre-poos to protect my hair from the sulphates shampoos I was using at that time. Once I switched over to sulphate free, I stopped using them and I think that was a mistake. Oils which can penetrate the hair shaft are always a good idea in a hair regimen.

Now that I have started a new regimen, I am attempting two hot oil treatments a week. One will be a rosemary infused coconut oil hot oil treatment or coconut oil deep condition (however you wish to refer to it), the 2nd one will be a basil infused olive oil hot oil.

Rosemary and basil are important for hair growth and health. Rosemary is known to stimulate the hair follicles and prevents against premature balding. Basil improves circulation in the scalp which can promote hair growth. Since I have never come across these essential oils in my homeland of Trinidad, I will be using the dried leaves and soaking them in the oil.

I will be starting next week as I need to go out and purchase my supplies. I will show you how I make the oils in another blog post next week.

Herbal Hair care: Basil infused olive oil and rosemary infused coconut oil

This year I am getting serious about reversing the damage I experiencing and not only regaining my lost inches but also growing some additional ones. I know people rave about hair potions and other growth aids which they religiously rub into their scalp, but unfortunately I have never been one for rubbing things on my scalp. I have seen progress pictures, but I really don't like it and therefore I don't have the motivation to do it.

I need to make some changes to my reggie though. Instead of adding complicated steps to it (after all, my hair can't control my life), I am just going to try to make them more effective. I have decided to reintroduce hot oil treatments to my hair. When I first started my journey I did them as pre-poos to protect my hair from the sulphates shampoos I was using at that time. Once I switched over to sulphate free, I stopped using them and I think that was a mistake. Oils which can penetrate the hair shaft are always a good idea in a hair regimen.

Now that I have started a new regimen, I am attempting two hot oil treatments a week. One will be a rosemary infused coconut oil hot oil treatment or coconut oil deep condition (however you wish to refer to it), the 2nd one will be a basil infused olive oil hot oil.

Rosemary and basil are important for hair growth and health. Rosemary is known to stimulate the hair follicles and prevents against premature balding. Basil improves circulation in the scalp which can promote hair growth. Since I have never come across these essential oils in my homeland of Trinidad, I will be using the dried leaves and soaking them in the oil.

I will be starting next week as I need to go out and purchase my supplies. I will show you how I make the oils in another blog post next week.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Reforming product junkie

I headed out today to get some jumbo rollers. I live in Trinidad so these were not easy to find. I was advised to visit a certain store where someone had seen them. Upon announcing my intention to visit this store to my family I got "the look" which expresses their concern that I am going to spend way too much money on my hair.

It is true, during the past two years since I have been on my journey, I have bought a lot of hair products, too many in my opinion. Some have been dumped, others sit on a shelf collecting dust. I am currently unemployed and once again a student, so money is important and can't be flushed down the drain which is what I do when I toss an unwanted setting lotion in the washbasin.

My intention today was just to purchase the jumbo rollers. Did I get them? Yes. Did I purchase more than I intended? Yes. Were my purchases necessary? YES!!!! LOL. I did purchase two additional items but they are useful. Not a hair product I was interested in trying out. I did feast my eyes a bit in the store, but all I came away with were the rollers and two wraps for my hair. I purchased a velcro satin wrap and a mesh wrap for when I do my cross wraps.

I roller set my hair when I returned home but it was sort of a fail as I needed more than the 12 rollers I purchased. Unfortunately the store only had 12. I need about 4 more. I cross wrapped my hair and put on the mesh wrap. I will leave it on until tomorrow and see what my wrap looks like. What I liked about the wraps was that they come in different colours. You are not limited to the basic black. I bought a wine coloured mesh wrap and a red satin wrap.

Eating my way to longer hair

I am a firm believer that you are what you eat, or at least since this year I have been converted into that way of thinking. After battling adult, late onset acne for almost 8 years, I was finally able to regain control of my skin through diet. If you are interested in seeing how I ate my way to clear skin, then check out my Beautiful Skin Bloghere.

Today I went to a health food store to purchase shea butter for my Mom and came across Organic Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). I have been hearing how good it is and since it fits into my dietary restrictions I decided to purchase a packet. I have now been doing some research on this seed and I discovered that quinoa is a pretty good source of the non-essential amino acid cysteine.

Cysteine is non-essential as your body can do without it, but if you are on a hair journey then it becomes very essential. Cysteine is the magic amino acid for hair. Hair is basically made up of cysteine and some other amino acids, but cysteine is the major one. It is also known to increase the rate at which hair grows. I have read that it can even double hair growth!!!! I'll take that one with a pinch of salt, but even if I get just a wee bit of an increase in my growth rate I would be thrilled.

I am definitely excited to make some. I have been googling recipes and will make something soon and include photos.

This is the brand of Quinoa that I purchased. According to the pack quinoa was a staple of the ancient Incas and means "the mother grain."

UPDATE: I can no longer eat quinoa as it broke me out. I suffer from skin which is so prone to breakouts and so frustrating at times. I did a post on my skincare blog talking about my experience.

Why waist length hair?

I am one of those people who watches the Miss Universe Pageant every year if possible. During the pageant I am always blown away by the hair on those ladies. I know sometimes it is not theirs as both black and white add extensions to give that thick, flowing head of hair look, but it doesn't prevent me from looking at those manes with longing. What can I say? I love long hair.

Leila Lopes, the current Miss Universe is absolutely gorgeous and I am very happy that she won, but I can't help but look at the mane on Miss Ukraine. Oh to have hair that long!

Before I had ever heard of the term "Hair Journey" and came across pictures and videos from ladies such as Sunshyne of Hairlista and Traycee from KISS, I never thought that all black women could have long hair. I really believed you had to have a looser kink for your hair to grow long. I thought that I was destined to always have neck length hair and secretly wished and even prayed that it would at least grow to my shoulders!

Growing my hair long is not a challenge for me. It is not sometime I am doing just to prove others wrong. I am doing it because I love long, luscious locks. That's why I know once I reach my goal, I will not be cutting my hair as I see some ladies doing. To each their own, but me personally, I will be loving myself and my long hair. I will be rocking Miss Ukraine's do. I will deserve it by the time I get there as that is going to take the commitment of several years.