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.