Saturday, December 1, 2012

December? Already?

Last time I was here I was saying how shocked I was that November had already arrived. Now November is gone and we are in the final month of the year. 

I have not been committed to blogging of late. I do my routine and I bun. I haven't done anything fancy nor have I even worn my hair out. Not much is going on with my hair. I am letting it do its thing and grow. 

Tomorrow is texlax day. I am 6 weeks post and have an event on Wednesday and would like my hair to be freshly done for it. I have enough new growth so I am not worried about such a short stretch. A length check will be done as I did not do one last time. I am also going to decide on my hair goals for 2013.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November already?

Wow, it has been quite a while since I last blogged-September 23rd to be exact. I just haven't had the time. Since then, I texlaxed my hair, but I haven't actually done a length check. I want to hold off and do one at the end of the year, which is in just about 9 weeks.

I am not sure if I will make the full, blunt APL goal in the next 9 weeks but we will see how close I am from it by the end of the year. If not, then I am sure it will happen next year. My hair is doing well. I don't notice any short, broken off strands so this tells me that I am retaining length. Once I am retaining my ends, then my hair will get longer. It's a simple as that. Retention has been a challenge for me on this journey. January will actually put me into my 4th year of trying to grow my hair out.

Sometimes I feel a bit disappointed that I don't have waist length hair to show for all the time, effort and money I have invested in the past four years. All I can say is my hair looks better now than it did in the early days of my hair journey. I no longer have that dramatic V shape. Yes, the tip of my V was grazing my bra strap at one point, but the majority of my hair was not there. Because of this, I actually never liked wearing my hair out when it was straight.

Now, there is a difference. Everything is growing nicely and relatively evenly. I have one problem area which is the right front section of my hair. It is about 4 to 5 inches shorter than the rest of my hair. I have no idea what could have caused it, but it is growing out. Only thing is it will always be that much shorter than the rest of my hair.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Time to stop hiding my hair

A few weeks ago I was talking about being tired of protective styling. It was impossible, however, for me to leave my hair out due to severe paranoia that doing so would lead to yet another setback. I came to the conclusion that in order for me to be comfortable about wearing my hair out, I would invest in silk blouses. Since then, I have been looking online and waiting for a sale so I could purchase one to start off with and I did so yesterday. I think I will eventually have 5 or 6 so that I can wear my hair out pretty often each month.

I was mentioning it to a friend and he thought it was completely crazy and if I think about it, I suppose it really is. But hey, at least I am making an effort to enjoy all the fruits of my labour. Of course I still can't wait to be waist length one day as I can just dream about all the beautiful buns and updos I will be able to create, so protective styling will always be a part of my regimen and my hair styling options. I just want to also incorporate down and out styles as well. So yes, gone are the days when I say I will wait until I reach a certain length to leave my hair out.

Continuing my love affair with Nexxus

I started using a Nexxus shampoo and conditioner a few months ago and fell in love. I love the Nexxus Humectress Shampoo and the Nexxus Botanical Shampoo.

On Friday I went to replenish my hair care products stock and came across the Nexxus Headress Thickening Leave-in Volumizer Conditioner. I was immediately interested when I saw the 1st ingredient was water and the 2nd was panthenol. Panthenol or Vitamin B5 has been proven to increase the size of hair strands by 5-10%. It also increases the ability of the hair strand to hold water. I know I have read many ladies say their hair thickened while using S-Curl which also has panthenol. I tried S-Curl in the early days of my hair journey and even revisited it earlier this year, but it leaves my hair with a film and so, no matter how I try, I just cannot love S-Curl.

I used this leave-in last night as my leave-in after washing and my moisturiser this morning. I absolutely love it. I will keep using this product for the next month and see how it goes. At this rate, I may be saying goodbye to Organic Root Stimulator as my main love and going Nexxus all the way.

The other Nexxus products I would like to try (and probably will order online) are:

Therappe Luxurious Moisturising Shampoo
Humectress Hydrating Treatment Deep Conditioner
Humectress Luxe Moisturising Leave-In Spray
Emergencee Strengthening Polymeric Reconstructor

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's been a while

Since I started a new job in August, I haven't had much time to blog. I have even had to cut back on my bi-weekly washes. I am now a once a week type of girl. It isn't awful but I truly believe I have an oily scalp and by Wednesday or Thursday my hair is slightly greasy.

I am currently 6 weeks post relaxer with no plans to relax anytime soon. Earlier this year I had tons of new growth at this time and I actually gave in and texlaxed at 7 weeks post. This time around I definitely don't have as much growth. The only difference is I don't eat as many carrots as I used to. Earlier this year, I was a carrot addict and my hair was growing like a weed. I have been working at my new job for about 5 weeks now and I really have not been eating 1-2 carrots as I did in the past. So, I am even more convinced now that the carrots really did have an impact on my growth rate. I am going to make an effort to reintroduce carrots into my diet.

Other than that, I don't really have that many updates. I probably will texlax my hair at 10 or 11 weeks post. I am still to buy those silk shirts so I can start to wear my hair out. I have been bunning and wearing updos exclusively for such a long period of time that I hardly recognise myself when I do leave my hair out. I am well aware of just how strange that sounds and I intend to do better. In any case, I feel like I am stuck in a rut and need a change, especially appearance-wise. Besides, why am I growing my hair if all I want to do is hide it away? I need to reap all the benefits of my hair. Updos and buns look better the longer your hair gets but I should always be able to wear my hair down and have fun with it.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tired of protective styling

Prior to my hair journey, I always wore my hair out and my ends suffered for it. Then when I began my hair journey, I ended up on the other extreme. I made it to grazing BSL in the early days and never wore my hair out. My plan was when I got to full BSL, I would start leaving my hair out. Well I ended up back at NL and am now aiming for APL.

I have taken a decision to wear my hair out more often and not worry about waiting until I am a certain length to do so. To be honest I am stuck in a rut and I need a change. I think I have forgotten how to even style my hair when I leave it down and out. I have become so paranoid about my hair resting on my cotton shirts that I keep it up at all times. I enjoy my hair even in a bun or an updo, I just need a change so I want to start wearing my hair down once or twice during the work week. To prevent myself from feeling guilty about abusing my ends, I have decided to invest in silk blouses. I will feel a lot better knowing I am wearing my hair out without causing any damage.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Success! One week without washing

Last week I was wondering how I would make it washing my hair only once a week. Well I made it. I went 7 days without washing. I was supposed to wash today but didn't get around to it and will be doing so tomorrow instead. 

Things went well. I had to make a conscious effort not to be too heavy handed when moisturising and sealing to prevent my hair from getting too weighed down. I have to admit that my roots are a bit oily and my scalp itches a little bit, but other than that it's not too bad. I am still so in love with my hair. I fall in love with it after each wash. Nexxus Humectress is the I know it is supposed to be a moisturising conditioner but it has hydrolyzed protein in it and works to keep my hair balanced.

Today I went and bought two more bottles of the conditioner. I am dying to try the rest of the line but I have not seen it in my country. I was thinking of ordering it from Amazon, although I have never really wanted to buy hair products online. We will see though. 

My hair looks and feels the best it has ever felt since I began my hair journey. I'm even talking about the days prior to the setback. I now have my regimen settled, my hair is happy, I am happy. All I have to do now is have patience and wait for the length to arrive. My goal is APL by December.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Attempting to go a week without washing

I started a new job and I have to be up super early to ensure I get to work on time. I also return home pretty late in the afternoon thanks to the traffic situation in my country. This means I only have time to have dinner, iron my clothes for the next day and take an hour for relaxation before I prepare for bed. There is no time for a mid-week wash day which would involve deep conditioning, roller setting and sitting under the hair dryer. It is not going to happen.

My plan is to wash only on weekends. I have been a bi-weekly washer ever since I began my hair journey more than 3 years ago. My face is extremely oily and I believe it is the same thing with my scalp. After a week of moisturising and sealing coupled with the oil my scalp is producing, my hair is usually limp and dying for a wash. I don't even want to think how about I managed pre-hair journey when I washed my hair once a month or once every 2 months.

The game plan for this week is to try and not be so heavy handed on the products as I will be unable to wash until at least Friday night. Hopefully my hair will be ok. I've been enjoying the bouncy hair that is full of body that I get now that I am using the Nexxus Humectress conditioner and I really don't want oily, limp hair.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Texlaxer Results

I texlaxed my hair today at 7 weeks post. I wasn't in the mood to flat iron so I roller set and did a saran wrap and then took length check photos. I am currently not focusing on length as I am focusing on growing out the front of my hair so that when brushed back it reaches the length of the back. That sounds a bit confusing, but what I want is a blunt cut. I have layers but those were caused by breakage during my setback of 2011. With these "layers" my hair appears to have a "V" shape to it which is not bad in of itself but as my hair is on the fine side, I think it looks thicker with a blunt cut.

This is my hair after my mini cut. I can definitely see the front is growing out nicely. I think I could have cut a bit more off the back but I don't really feel comfortable with hair that is shorter than my current length. I know that my hair will never be perfectly even as hair grows at different rates but my goal is to have the bulk of my hair at the same length.

I believe I should only need to cut the back twice more and then I'll be focusing my meeting my length goals. I really want my hair to look pretty all throughout my hair journey. Why have long hair that I feel I need to hide because I don't like the appearance of it-whether it be the ends or the shape? My hair needs to look pretty at all times. I am really happy with it right now.

My picture from my June 20th texlaxer update. My hair has grown a lot in the past 7 weeks.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

6 weeks post

I was going to relax as I have enough new growth to warrant a touch up but I have decided to continue stretching. My new regimen is working and i am still happy with the state of my hair. I won't go past 10 weeks though. I don't like extended stretches.

Here is a picture of my new growth at 6 weeks.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Refocusing my energies

I am finally happy with my hair. I washed my hair on Thursday and had the same amazing results as on the last day I washed. This tells me that my new regimen is not a fluke. I love how my hair feels. It has body, my texlaxed hair comes out bone straight with just a roller set. I just love it. So everything is great. All I have to do now and stick to this regimen and wait for my hair to start gaining length.

That being said, I think I will be taking a break from the hair blogging world for a bit. There are some other things I would like to focus on. I have been committed to my hair since January 2009, so basically about 3 1/2 years. The past year and a half was tough and saw me lose my length but I struggled through it and I am sure my hair will be better than before. I will be back in the new few weeks with a texlaxer update/length check.

Until then ladies :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

4 weeks post

Quick post to show my new growth at 4 weeks post. I think it is quite a lot of growth for 4 weeks. I was planning on texlaxing at 6 weeks post but I will try and hold out until I am 8 or 9 weeks. The new regimen I am testing out is really working both my texlaxed ends and my new growth so I might be able to stretch for another 5 weeks. Once I reach 6 weeks I will see how my hair feels and if I can handle the amount of growth and then decide.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Most amazing wash day ever

My hair has been frustrating me for the past couple of weeks. I was dealing with breakage and hair that was not looking at its best. That all changed today as I decided to try a new combination of products and now I am so happy. I just finished my happy dance and woke my mom up to swing my hair from side to side for her to show her just how pretty it looked.

This is what I did.

I shampooed with my Optimum Oil Therapy Shampoo
Deep conditioned with Nexxus Humectress Ultimate Moisture Conditioner
After I applied Organics Olive Oil Leave In Conditioner, Neutrogena Silk Touch Leave-In and used my Motions Nourish Leave-In as my setting lotion.
I then roller set my hair and after removing the rollers added a dab of the Neutrogena Leave-In and a bit of coconut oil.

I found the Nexxus to be a bit on the pricey side but it is so worth it. I parted my hair in small sections and applied just a dab to each section and smoothed it in from root to tip. I used the conditioner like a moisturiser, as if I was moisturising my hair. This prevented me from being too heavy handed. I felt like it was absorbed into my hair. My hair had bounce to it even before I deep conditioned with it. I applied a shower cap and sat under the dryer for 20 minutes. What I noticed when I went to rinse out the conditioner was that I felt as if the conditioner had been absorbed into my hair. There was very little conditioner that actually washed out. Now this Nexxus is not an actual deep conditioner, but I loved the way it worked as one.

I will be testing out this regimen for a bit. If I am able to recreate the look and feel of my hair each time I use it, then I will make this my permanent regimen. I am even thinking of testing out the Nexxus Shampoo as I do think the Optimum one is a bit drying. A lot of these products are silicone heavy and after my silicone-provoked setback I was concerned about using them, however, the difference is that this time I am sticking with sulphate shampoos. This is what works best for my hair.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

3 weeks post update and the direction of my journey

Last time I blogged I was dealing with breakage caused by too frequent use of protein deep conditioners. That one is my own fault as I know too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. I have since rectified the problem. I cut out the protein and upped the moisture and I am no longer seeing the short strands breaking off when I manipulate my hair.

I am currently 3 weeks post and my hair is still growing faster than ever. It is becoming increasingly difficult to style my hair and I will probably have had enough within the next month or so. My edges are fuzzy and I don't really care about that any more. My edges no longer lay flat after Week 3 and I have no intention of fighting with nature and the climate. I allow them to do whatever it is they like and I am unapologetic about them. They probably won't start balling up until I am 6-7 weeks post, so for now, I just let them be.

My hair journey is going to be slightly modified until the end of 2012. When I part my hair horizontally from temple to temple about 4 inches back, the part on the top is my problem area. This section experiences a lot of breakage. I cut side bangs earlier this year and I noticed I didn't even need to cut off more than 1-2 inches because that area was already short. This is my perma-bang area and I have to focus on growing it out.

The game plan is simple. I will not be wearing any ponytail hairstyles. This also includes buns. If I were to do a medium or low bun, the ponytail holder would be resting exactly where the ends of my hair to the front reaches when I brush it back. That is a lot of friction on my ends and could be one of the reasons why this section of my hair just can't seem to retain its length. I will therefore be protective styling using only updos and no buns. Luckily I have Youtube to turn to for inspiration.

Another thing I have noticed since I stopped doing long stretches is that I seem to be retaining my length in my temple area. Usually after completing a 12-16 week stretch I would notice that my temple area was completely natural. Since my stretches have gradually been reduced to 9 weeks (and probably will be reduced to 6-8 weeks) I have noticed that by the time I am ready to relax, my temple area has new growth and relaxed ends. That was the only area that fell victim to stretching and breakage along the demarcation line.

My focus for the rest of the year will be to baby this section and try to grow the hair in this area to my neck, for the shortest, or my shoulders for the longest. I know I would be happier with my hair's appearance if that area would grow out. I think my hair would look a lot better when I leave it out.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Experiencing breakage! Quick update

Last week I noticed a few broken strands after moisturising and sealing my hair. This is something I haven't experienced in a very long time so I am definitely concerned about it. I have been monitoring it and every day I seem to be getting a few broken strands of anywhere from 1/2 inch to 3 inches! I am completely freaked out. I instantly sat down to figure out why this is happening.

I remember that a month ago I could not find my Elasta QP moisturising deep conditioner and so I started using another one in its place but unfortunately this one had some protein in it. I think the combination of this conditioner and the ORS Replenishing Conditioner is not good for my hair. I believe I am in the early stages of protein overload which could explain the breakage of my ends. I definitely will be cutting this product out of my hair in the hopes that I will stop the breakage from continuing.

I will now have to focus on finding a moisturising deep conditioner without protein. My hair seems to like this best. The combination products just do not work for me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 2012 updates

I texlaxed my hair one day shy of 9 weeks post and everything went well. I noticed my new growth seemed thicker than usual yet the front of my hair texlaxed in about 15 minutes rather than the 18 minutes it usually takes. The back of my hair took less than 10 minutes as usual. The difference in the texture between front and back remains although the front is changing.

I took about 1/2 inch off the ends of the back of my hair as I was not too happy about their appearance (more about that later). Here is my comparison between my February length shot and my June length shot. I am getting closer to APL. My hair is at APL when I stretch it, but I am choosing not to claim it until my hair naturally falls to that level. I am guessing maybe it will be there by August or September.

View of my front.

Now to my ends. I am not that thrilled about the appearance of the ends of my hair. I was tempted to give more than the 1/2 inch trim but I prevented myself from doing this for one main reason. If you look at the photo of my hair from the side then you will see that all of my hair is not one length. The hair from the front when it is combed back reaches to the level of my shoulder. The hair from the back sections are closer to APL. My entire head of hair is not one length. It is at its thickest up until it reaches SL.

This is something I will eventually want to address, but I don't think it is necessary to take drastic action at this point. I think I will cut off 1/2 with each texlaxer until the front grows out and catches up and reaches APL. I think it will definitely help with the appearance of thickness of my very fine hair.

2012 is the year for me to get my hair back on track and sort out my issues from last year and I believe that things are going well. I am going to adjust my hair goals for the rest of the year. I do want length, but I want the appearance of my hair to be pleasing as well.

I think it will take another six month to grow the front of my hair to APL, so that is my new goal for this year.  I will focus on BSL/MBL and WL next year.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Quick update and future plans

I cut my hair, well the back of it. I cut off over an inch from the back. I didn't touch the front at all because I am working on growing it out. I hope by December that my hair will look similar to the haircut sported by Alicia Keys. It appears that she has a blunt APL which is something I definitely want.

To get to this point, I need to focus on the front area of my hair which is an area that struggles to retain its length. The back I will keep cutting while the middle and the front grow to catch up. My temple area is finally retaining length. During my last two stretches I was able to see both new growth and relaxed ends, when in the past it would completely break off, leaving only new growth. However, this area is still a weak area and it only about 2-3 inches in length.

I also have a short patch about two inches back, from temple to temple. This has always been a trouble area for me. I cut it recently into side bangs, but never really wore the bangs. I realise that once my new growth starts to show, wearing my bangs was impossible without using direct heat, so I gave up on that idea. I am now growing out that area. This area now reaches to the level of my upper jaw.

In addition to this bang area, I found a short patch of hair on the right hand side which reaches just to the level of bottom of my ear. I don't know where that came from, I must have had some breakage which I failed to notice back in 2011. I don't expect the front section to reach APL by December 2012, by my hope is that it will be SL by December.

The middle of my hair has no problem spots and when brushed back is about an inch past SL. I will keep trimming the back with each texlaxer until the middle area grows out and reaches APL. I believe this will help with the thickness of my hair. I know I can grow the middle out to APL by December. The back is still a few inches longer than the rest of my hair. I am not too keen on cutting any more until I get a bit more growth.

Once I even everything out, I will then focus my attention on reaching BSL and beyond in 2013.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I relaxed (texlaxed)

I finally did it and I am exhausted. It is such a lengthy process. I didn't bother with taking too many photos as I am tired. I did my ponytail comparison although I am not so sure if I am happy with the ends of my hair in the June 2012 pic. They are definitely not as blunt as they were in February but at least my hair is getting longer. I wrapped my hair and so I am done for the night. Hopefully I will have better photos tomorrow.

This is what my ponytail looked like in December 2009, the most successful year of my hair journey. I hope to get back to this length and thickness this year. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ending the stretch

My name is now Miss Indecision as I have gone back and forth about continuing my stretch for the past few weeks. To be honest it has been a struggle for me and I actually sit down and weigh the pros and cons of stretching and relaxing every 8 weeks. I know why stretching is important: it prevents the creation of too many weak points along the hair strand and it prevents thin ends due to relaxer run-off.

If I were to relax more often I know I would be creating more weak points along the length of my hair but there has been many a lady able to grow her hair long, and arguably strong, while relaxing every 6 to 8 weeks. This is a fact. Some have good enough growth after such a short period to enable them to relax that often.

My next concern is thinning ends due to relax run off. I decided to search on the LHCF to see what ladies who are seniors in the hair care world do to protect their ends. I found a thread from 2005 and found some interesting tips.

Besides the usual response of applying oil or conditioner to the ends of the hair, I found the suggestion of applying a layer of petroleum jelly on the ends after applying the relaxer and just prior to rinsing. The reasoning behind it being that it would be difficult to separate the hair while relaxing if you applied it beforehand. Another suggestion is the apply neutralising shampoo to the previously relaxed ends. I plan on trying both of these tips. I will apply the neutralising shampoo to my previously relaxed ends while relaxing and then add a layer of petroleum jelly just before rinsing my hair.

Finally, I know I have been going back and forth on the issue but it hit me today while reading a post from another relaxed lady. She was talking about styling your hair and enjoying it along the journey rather than waiting until you get to your ultimate goal to then focus on making it cute. It resonated with me because I am not enjoying my journey and when am I going to start enjoying it? Protective styling is not my issue because I have done so many cute buns and updos and I feel like I enjoy my hair when it is able to be coiffed. However, since this year began and my growth rate increased I have begun to feel like my hair is no longer attractive past 6 weeks post. I have difficulty getting my new growth to lay down and as I don't intend to fight with my new growth so I let it win and do whatever it wants. My new growth seems thicker than ever and I am ashamed to admit it, but I leave the house sometimes looking a bit unkempt. That's not fun and I am tired of it. Hair should be enjoyed and I am not enjoying it. It requires so much of my time, money and effort that I should be reaping the results. I don't just want long hair, I want long, attractive hair.

So my stretch ends this week. I will be relaxing this Thursday at 9 weeks post and 8 weeks post relaxer thereafter. Time to enjoy my hair. This is my final decision. Next blog post will be my relaxer progress pics, I promise.

Taking it one week at a time: Week 9

I have just completed Week 8 of my stretch and I am 3 days into Week 9. My gosh! I can no longer comb my hair. Literally all I can do is wash my hair, detangle under the shower, moisturise and seal and cross wrap it while it is still damp. It is dry the next morning, my ends are straight and my new growth lays flat for about a day. By the time it starts getting out of control, I wash it once more. I am rocking it the way it is. I can't do anything else.

My goal is to stretch for 12 weeks but at this point I am just taking it one week at a time. If my hair was not fine, I would so relax right now.

I hope you can tell the difference between my airdried texlaxed strands and my new growth. My new growth does not have the shine of my texlaxed strands and appears denser in the photo. If you notice, then you will see why I am experiencing my current difficulties. This is what I have grown in 8 weeks which is unbelievable to me. Just a year or two ago, I didn't have half of this growth at 10 weeks. These are photos of the back of my hair which has a looser texture than the front.

I can see my hair is growing, let's hope I am retaining the ends of my hair.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Still stretching

Yup, that's right. After all the back and forth on the matter I have decided to continue stretching. My hair is just too fine to handle 8 week stretches. I am currently 8 weeks post and I am going to try and stretch until 12 weeks. I still have a lot of new growth to contend with so I know it is not going to be easy but I am going to try it. I am not stretching to prevent overlap because if that were my only concern, I could relax tomorrow as I definitely have enough new growth to prevent that. My main concern is relaxer run off and the role it could play in thinning my already fine hair. I really want to limit the number of times my previously relaxed ends are exposed to a relaxer. Waist Length is my ultimate goal and I really want to keep my ends as thick as they can possibly be and I just can't do that if I relax too often. 

I may increase the frequency at which I relax once I reach my ultimate goal and I am in maintenance mode. After all, at that point I will be cutting my hair with each touch up to maintain my length at WL. Right now I have other concerns so I will relax every 12 weeks without fail. 

There are a few things I have changed to help my stretch. Firstly, I bought S-Curl to help tame my roots. I had been revisiting S-Curl earlier this year and realised that while I don't like using it along the entire length of my hair, it is actually amazing for new growth.

I also discovered a product that helped to tame my edges. It's the VIA Natural Pom-Edge Gel. It's a pomade and an edge gel combined into one. Edge gels do help to lay my edges flat, but unfortunately they break off my edges, made very sensitive due to years of braiding. Now it has petrolatum in it, but I've decided not to be so picky when it comes to that ingredient as I have realised that my hair does not actually hate it. I tried it today and it did a really good job so I think I have a winner here, unless it also makes my edges fall out. 

Another thing I am doing to help my stretch my hair is to wash my hair three times a week. I shampoo my hair with each wash as I find my hair gets product build up very easily. I am also not really a fan of cowashing. Two of the three washes will be followed by deep conditionings and the third one will be a shampoo and regular condition wash day. 

From next week the plan is to shampoo and deep condition on Mondays and Fridays and do a shampoo and regular condition on Wednesdays. I did a trial shampoo and regular condition today with the Pantene Pro-V Relaxed and Natural line and I love how my hair and new growth feels. I plan to detangle my hair only in the shower under running water. I will also take a break from roller setting for now and airdry my hair in a cross wrap. 

The next few weeks may be tough but I am going to do it. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

What is the bare minimum for a relaxer stretch?

I know, I know, my last couple of posts have been about heading back to the land of the short relaxer stretches. My intention was to hold out for 12 weeks, or 10 if push came to shove, so please ask me why I am on the LCHF looking at threads dealing with ladies who relax every 6 to 8 weeks? Yes, it's on my mind and I cannot shake it.

It is on my mind. I took out my cornrows to wash my hair and the same frustration I have been dealing with is there again. On the one hand, I recognise that I have a sufficient amount of new growth to prevent excessive overlapping of my relaxer (it is actually impossible to prevent overlap; you overlap when you smooth your relaxer) and yet, on the other hand I am torn as too frequent relaxing can cause thinning of the ends due to relaxer run-off. Therein lies my dilemma.

I am at the point where I just want to give in, throw in the towel and do my touch up. I feel like throwing caution to the wind. It could be due to the fact that I am tired of meeting the demands of my hair. I've been on my hair journey since January 2009 so we are talking close to 3 1/2 years, almost 200 weeks of washing my hair twice weekly. In all the time I have been on my journey, I must have missed 2 or 3 washes. I am back to my 2009 length, so I have nothing to really show (except photos) for all those years of effort, not to mention money spent. I am tired of always having to deal with two textures of hair. I just need a change.

So I am back to my original decision. I will be texlaxing at 8 weeks post. It seems to be the bare minimum period recommended for stretching your relaxer, the ideal being 10-12 weeks post. I swear though, if I stretch anymore my frustration with my new growth may lead to me taking extreme measures such as hacking off my texlaxed ends and rocking a TWA. However, given the fact that I don't think such a short cut would do anything to enhance my features, I am going to go down the route of more frequent relaxing. I am not really interested in being natural at this point in my life, I am just tired of the two textures.

So gasp if you must, I am in shock myself but there we have it. Hopefully I am not going to be blogging a few months from now rueing my decision. In any case even if I do regret it, I know I can always grow it back  After all if I went from SL to APL in about 6 months (even past APL in some areas), it's really not impossible to do it all over again. After all, it is just hair and it should not be frustrating me the way it has been of late.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

No self control

I had no intention of buying anything hair related today but alas, something caught my eye. Have you ladies ever seen the Scunci Bendini Clips? They are so cute and have no sharp ends (I run my finger along all edges of hair accessories before purchasing).

Here the video for the clips:

and a photo of the one I purchased today:

I am thinking it would look great with a Southern Tease Bun.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hair of the Day

Yesterday I put the front of my hair in canerows/cornrows to help continue my stretch and so I thought I would do a quick "hair of the day" post to show a hairstyle. Last night I incorporated the ends of the canerows into the 5 bantu knots I put in at the back of my hair. This morning I took the bantu knots out and did a quick updo. I twisted the sides and then pinned up the rest of my hair.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I think I can, I think I can

I was definitely frustrated earlier this week with having to deal with the two textures of my hair. I had made the decision to throw in the towel and relax at 8 weeks, but the more I think about it, I really do not want to cause any set backs and relaxing every 8 weeks is really a lot to me. I do have extremely fine hair and this is probably not the wisest of decisions.

I have therefore decided to try and stretch until Week 12. That means I have 6 weeks left. In order to do this, I have returned to my old, trusty friend. I call them "canerows" as I am from the Caribbean although most people know them as "cornrows".

I suppose I have always been a stretcher ever before I knew what the term was. When I was a teenager, my mom would only let me get a relaxer at the beginning of each new school term. This meant that I usually stretched about 3 months. I was a big fan of cornrowing/canerowing my own hair especially when my new growth began to kick in. Although I never deep conditioned and thought using Pink Oil Moisturiser was adding moisture to my hair, I never had any breakage at the line of dermarcation. My major issue was the breakage of my ends.

Today I parted my hair from ear to ear and then made a zig-zag parting which was slightly off centre and then canerowed/cornrowed my hair. I do see some areas that I could have been parted better, but I haven't done this style in over 7 years, so it's not too bad for my first attempt. At least I do not have to deal with poofy hair and will not need to manipulate my hair during this stretch. I didn't do anything to the back of my hair. I will do a bantu-knot out updo with the back of my hair. I plan on trying to maintain the style for a week. I will moisturise and seal daily, shampoo and condition once a week and rebraid after each wash. I hope this should help me to stretch to at least 12 weeks.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hair Confession: I am tired of stretching my relaxer

My last stretch was only 10 weeks which has been the shortest period I have gone without a relaxer since I began my hair journey. My plan was to have stretched for 14 weeks but I was so tired of the two textures that I decided to give in and texlax. It was during that previous stretch that I was just tired with it all. I texlax my hair to have somewhat straight hair because that is the look I prefer, yet at the same time, I constantly have to contend with natural hair and texlaxed hair because I stretch. Back in the day it would take 10 weeks before I really saw any significant growth, so stretching to 12-14 weeks was really easy. I would texlax and I'd have an inch after 3 months.

Now that I have a ridiculously healthy diet (I'm talking at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day, no sugar, no processed foods etc) my growth rate has dramatically improved, in fact I would state that my hair is growing at its optimal rate. My new growth is noticeable from the 3rd week and by the 6th week I am frustrated with it all.  I really feel like I have two options. Either I start relaxing every 8 weeks or I go back natural, so that I commit to one look. I am currently 6 weeks post and I already have over 1 inch of new growth. This is enough to prevent excessive overlapping when I relax, however I am not keen on the idea of using chemicals that often. I also don't like to use direct heat so flat ironing my roots is out of the question for me, my country is in the Caribbean and it gets hot and I would sweat it out in a day or two.

All I know is I am frustrated. Stretching is not something new to me. I have stretched to 16 weeks and even completed a 6 month stretch and had no breakage at the line of demarcation. The problem is not that I need to learn to stretch. The issue is that I am tired of always having two significant textures of hair.

This post has helped me to make a decision. I will be texlaxing on June 14th at 8 weeks post. I seem to be rebelling a lot of late: using sulphate shampoos, using products with petrolatum and now eliminating long stretches. We will see if my likes these changes. If not, I will just have to stick it out with the stretching.

I just finished washing and roller setting my hair. This is what my new growth looks like. I will be 6 weeks post tomorrow. I don't think I can make another 6 weeks.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My hair doesn't mind seem to mind petrolatum

I went a little ORS crazy last week when I went to the beauty supply store. I had the best of intentions--replenish my staple products and then walk away but something happened and I walked away with two products containing petrolatum, an ingredient I tend to avoid like the plague.

Now this is not a review as I don't believe I can properly judge these two products as it has not yet even been a full week since I have been using them. This is just a "preliminary thoughts post" which should help me monitor the effect of these two products on my hair.

I will start with the ORS Olive Oil Incredibly Rich Moisturizing Lotion. This lotion is extremely thick and creamy and a little goes a long way. I use it at nights and I moisturise the entire length of my hair with it. Coconut oil is high on the listing of ingredients; in fact it is the 2nd ingredient so I have not been using my usual sealant of coconut oil. I have used it every night since I purchased it, so about 5 days of usage. It definitely keeps my hair feeling moisturised. My new growth feels soft and manageable. No problems thus far.

The second product I have been using the the ORS HAIRepair Intense Moisture Creme. I use this on the last 3 inches of my hair. I am in Operation BSL mode which means that I am focusing on both growth and length retention. Regarding length retention, I have decided to moisturise my ends twice a day. My night moisturising routine takes care of the entire length of my hair and the mornings are just for the ends as my hair is too fine to handle twice daily moisturising from root to ends. Once again, this product contains petrolatum. It is the fourth ingredient, listed right after coconut oil. I am also not sealing when I use this product. The Creme has a thinner consistency than the Olive Oil lotion. So far, so good. My ends seem to really love it.

I plan on revisiting this post in a month's time to determine whether I shall stick with this regimen or if I will need to tweak it a bit.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Operation BSL

Although I have not officially claimed APL, (I probably will do so after my next texlax at the end of June) I have have been thinking about my next goal which is BSL. BSL is a length I reached in mid-2010 but was unable to hold onto it due to the failure to retain my ends.

There is a 4.5 inch span between APL and grazing BSL for me. I consider grazing to be touching the top of my bra strap. I will consider myself full BSL when my hair reaches to the bottom of the bra strap. If my hair were to grow at the average rate of 0.5 inches per month, then my hair should take 9 months to grow to that length, barring any setbacks. I believe my growth rate is more than average, but I am still going to give myself 9 months to reach BSL. My plan is therefore to be grazing BSL by February 2013. It will take me another 2.5 inches to be full BSL. My goal for that will be July 2013, if I stick with the 0.5 inches a month rate of growth.

In order to get to BSL, in addition to my regular hair regimen, I pledge to:-

- Remember to take my daily multivitamin
I already eat a very healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables yet I believe a multivitamin is still important as foods are not as rich in nutrients as they were 100 years ago. A multivitamin is therefore good to include even if you eat your daily share of red, green, yellow/orange and blue/purples fruits and vegetables.

- Continue eating carrots
I have come across other anecdotal evidence of carrot juice being important for hair growth. Traycee from K.I.S.S. did a post on drinking carrot juice as well as Nadege from Relaxed Hair Health. The ladies from the LHCF also had a thread on increased growth from carrot juice. I noticed the effects of carrots on my own. I was eating lots of carrots to give my body extra Vitamin A in the hopes of curing my skin woes and noticed the side effect was increased growth. I eat carrots rather than juicing them.

- Moisturise and seal my ends twice daily
 I have very fine hair which gets weighed down very quickly, so moisturising the length of my hair twice daily is out of the question. I will instead moisturise and seal the last three inches of my hair in the morning and the entire length in the night. 

-Dust my hair once a month
I am not going to deny it. Sometimes I forget to dust my hair. I am vowing to spend a few hours on the first Saturday each month going through my hair and dusting any split ends I see. If I do this every month then I should eliminate any splits from worsening or snagging on the health ends. This should help me avoid any major trims during the next 9 months.

Operation BSL is in full swing. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

ORS is forcing me back to my product junkie ways

ORS and their new products. I love ORS but with all the new products out there it is really difficult to decide what to use and it is even more difficult to resist the temptation and buy their new products just to test them out.

I have already tried the ORS HAIRepair Nourishing Conditioner, and did a review of it and a comparison of it with the ORS Replenishing Pack, so I knew it to be a good line of products. So when I came across the cremes from the HAIRepair line I decided to try the Intense Moisturise Creme.

What I did not notice at the store was that the product has petrolatum which is an ingredient I have been trying to avoid since I began my hair journey. Now I know there is a debate about petrolatum and whether it harms or helps the hair. There has been many a lady on her hair journey who grew her hair out and retained her length while using petrolatum and found that this ingredient was not a hindrance to her hair goals. Then there are others who avoid it like the plague; me being one of them.

I also ended up getting another hugely popular ORS product which also contains petrolatum, the ORS Olive Oil Incredibly Rich Moisturising Lotion. I moisturised my hair with this product last night and I have to admit my hair feels pretty wonderful. I am not sure how it will feel after a week's use but we will see.

I would also like to purchase the HAIRepair Anti-Breakage Creme which I would probably use primarily on my ends.

I know that many persons insist we stay away from certain ingredients, but at the same time, a hair journey is a pretty personal one that is specific to your hair's needs. I know I have gone back to sulphate shampoos and haven't had any difficulty whereas in the past I was a hardcore sulphate-free user and ran into some problems because of it.

My goal is just to play it by ear and see how my hair feels. My hair usually tells me when it is happy or it is not happy.

Has anyone used any of these products? There seems to be very few reviews in the hair blogging community on these products.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Health before length: A matter of the chicken or the egg.

Time and time again I see a video or read a blog post of a lady who stretched their relaxer for x amount of weeks, who spoke about having a lot of new growth throughout the stretch and then after relaxing, realises her hair has hardly changed in terms of length since her last chemical process. She has done everything right during that stretch. She has deep conditioned religiously she has moisturised and sealed faithfully and she has done nothing but protective style during that stretch. She has therefore done everything and so she is convinced that nothing is wrong with her hair and her regimen. She declares that her hair is not getting longer, but that health is more important than length.

To me it really is a matter of the chicken or the egg. Does health come before length? Or should they come together. I can understand this in the first few months of a Hair Journey. Your hair is damaged and it needs to be nursed back to health. However, once you get health, you also need to be gaining some length. If you have not had any major setbacks and you have not been scissors happy, then you should see your hair getting longer.

I was there. I first hit APL in mid 2009 but by mid 2010, I was just a bit longer than APL. My hair was creeping along and I used all the excuses I have seen other girls use. My hair grows slowly. I have a long torso so it will take me a long time to get to BSL. I'm focusing on the health of my hair and length will eventually come. Had I realised that it should not take 2 years to grow 6 inches of hair, I would have recognised I was not retaining my length and would have done something about it. It was only when I noticed that cumulative effect of my breakage in 2011 did I have a wake up call.

Now I know everyone's hair grows at different rates but I think for those of us who have been at it for a while now need to pay more attention to retention of our ends. If you believe your hair grows 1/2 inch a month and you are retaining your length, then in 6 months your hair needs to have gotten longer by 3 inches, barring any minor/major trims. After a year, it should be longer by 6 inches. It is as simple as that. If after a year, your hair is almost the same length it was the year before, then something is wrong.

Here is a photo of my hair from the start of my journey in 2009 to the 1st quarter of 2010. You can see how it changed length significantly in 2009, but by 2010 things seem to be slowing down. My hair was not growing any slower than usual but retention of my length was becoming a problem due to PJism and testing out new products all the time.
Side Shots Jan 09 to Apr 10

I recommend everyone do progression shots so that they can indeed recognise whether they are retaining their length or not. You need to see your hair getting progressively longer as the months go by.

Monday, May 14, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

I received the One Lovely Blog Award from Shereen from WishfulLengths a couple of weeks ago, unfortunately, I was so overwhelmed preparing for my exams that I didn't have time to do it. It seems like everyone has already done this tag so I might have some difficulty finding 15 other ladies, but here goes!

Btw, you should definitely check out and follow Shereen's blog, if you haven't already.

So according to the rules of the award, I have to share 7 facts about myself and pass on the award to 15 other blogs.

Fact 1: I am in the last week of my 20s. Yes, I am 5 days shy of 30. I am both excited and terrified whenever I think about turning 30.

Fact 2: My favourite country in the world (other than my homeland of Trinidad and Tobago) is France. I spent two of my college semesters there learning French, in 2004 and 2005, respectively. I'd love to move there some day.

Fact 3: I can't sleep in the dark. I need to have a light on.

Fact 4: I am left handed. My sister and I were the only lefties in my family.

Fact 5: I love to read but not contemporary novels. My favourite novels were written centuries ago! My favourite novels are Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

Fact 6: My food addiction is a strange one. I am addicted to carrots. There was a study done a few years ago which found that carrots can be as addictive as cigarettes. That being said, I try to limit my intake to one or two a day as I don't intend to turn myself orange/yellow.

Fact 7: Although I live on an island, I cannot swim.

I tag the following ladies. Please disregard if you have already been tagged or done the tag. It proved a challenge to find someone who hasn't already done this tag,

The Awkward Stage
Fine Hair Sista
The Jen Chronicles
Shoulder Length and Beyond; A Hair Journey
Naija Hair Can Grow
My Hairlicious Ego
The Black Hair Diary

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Updates and length check

I texlaxed for the second time in 2012 on April 19th, however as I was in the middle of studying for very important exams I chose not to go through the entire process of flat ironing my hair. All I did was texlax, deep condition and airdry. Now that exams are over I can finally see how my hair has been progressing.

I can honestly say I am happy with my hair. I seem to be retaining my length pretty well. I am back to APL when I ensure that my hair lays flat against my back.

I have decided that I don't like this method of measuring as how often do I walk around holding my hair to my armpits? I would prefer for my hair to naturally lay at APL before I claim it. That's just my personal preference.

Of late I have been having issues with taking length check photos as my hair just won't cooperate. This is a photo taken this morning. I gave up trying to take photos last night. My hair was doing all sorts of crazy things. I  slept with my hair in a medium high bun. I know I should have wrapped it given the fact that I had stayed up to flat iron it, but to be honest, I was tired and could not be bothered. I am sort of leaning forward in this photo. It's not the greatest, but it is the best I have.

This next photo is of my hair after being moisturised with S-Curl and sealed with coconut oil. No matter what I do, I tend to be heavy handed with S-Curl, leaving me with somewhat damp strands. In spite of this, I am so in love with this moisturiser. It makes my hair feel amazing and I am seeing fewer short, broken off strands the more I use it. Hair is a bit damp in the picture, but I included it because you can see my hair is maintaining the blunt cut from January.

How do you ladies measure the length of your hair. Do you use the laying flat method or the naturally falling method?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

First successful braidout

Ever since I embarked upon a hair journey, I have had so many failed attempts at a braidout that I had actually given up and then, accidentally, I stumbled across the best method for me.

It's actually quite simple. I moisturise and seal my hair in sections with S-Curl Activator/Moisturiser and seal with coconut oil. I then cornrow my hair and do a bantu knot. Next morning, I have curls. I am going to keep playing with it until I figure out the perfect size and positioning of the cornrows. Hopefully I can get the hang of it so I can eventually rock this style.

The positioning on my airdried texlaxed hair:

The results

The front: (Sorry about the blanked out face, but I looked crazy lol.)


The side

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Giving S-Curl another chance

Back in 2009 when I began my hair journey I started off with the glycerine based moisturisers. The first one I tried was Wave Nouveau and then after I moved onto S-Curl. My issue with this moisturisers were that they made my hair feel gummy. I believe my problem was that I was too heavy handed with my products.

This past week I was thinking about my current moisturisers which, although water based, tend to have a lot of oils in them which cannot really penetrate the hair strand. After a couple days of just moisturising and sealing on a nightly basis, my hair becomes oily and really weighed down. I remembered that I had a huge bottle of S-Curl sitting in my cupboard and decided to give it a try once more.

The result? I love it. I divided my hair into 10 sections and I used a squirt per section and then I sealed with coconut oil. My hair was happy. I remember when I first started my journey this product really helped me to retain my length. I was a religious S-Curl user when I first hit grazing BSL back in 2010. I now moisturise and seal morning and night and I am loving my hair. No greasy build up. No residue. Just soft, well moisturised hair. Yup, I'm back to using S-Curl and loving it.

Quick update

I texlaxed today! I did it early this morning, however, I neither roller set my hair nor flat ironed. I air dried in 4 braids. When my hair was wet I noticed that it was definitely APL but as it dried and shrinkage set it, it got shorter. I was going to hold off on the length check, but I just have to know. I will probably be washing my hair again on Sunday or Monday, so if I have time I will flat iron my hair and take length check photos.

Did you have long hair as a child?

I stumbled across a video on Youtube today and in the comments there was a debate about whether ALL girls of African can actually grow their hair long. One of the persons was arguing that when you look at the girls who grow their hair to BSL onwards they usually had long hair as children. Their hair was short later on in life due to poor hair care but they were genetically wired to having long hair.

In my case I never had long hair. Shoulder length hair was a dream for me back in the day so to have hair that is past my shoulders is a miracle. Here is a picture of me as a child showing my hair. It's not very clear but it's one of the few I have scanned.

So my question is, did you ladies have long hair as children or were you not even EL as I was?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I bought mesh rollers!

After seeing Ebony from Longing 4 Length and Jeni from Just Grow Already rave about their mesh rollers, I had them in the back of my mind and so when I happened to see them today, I just had to get them. I bought the Goody brand rollers. One pack has 20 rollers which includes 8 medium sized rollers and 12 small ones. I decided to get 2 packs. They were so inexpensive; I paid $9.95 per pack in my currency which comes out to just a little over US $1.50. I just could not pass up on it. I may even buy a third pack just in case I need a few more when roller setting my hair. My rollers are smaller than what the other ladies have been using, so I will end up with a tighter curl.

This is what they look like:

I promise to actually take photos of my results when using the rollers. I tend to really be bad with adding photos to my blog posts.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cutting my stretch short: Quick Update

I am going to be texlaxing next week at 10 weeks post. I just can't handle the two textures anymore. This is the shortest stretch I have ever done since I started my journey some three years ago but it is just not working right now. I am in the middle of preparation for really important exams but I am still going to take a few hours and get it done. I will just texlax, deep condition and airdry. This means no length check which will kill me but I can't afford to devote an entire day to the relaxer process and then flat iron on top of it. It is quite a process! Once my exams are over, I will be 2 weeks post but I can easily flat iron and try out a new hair appliance I received yesterday and then I will length check.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Comparison between ORS HAIRepair Nourishing Conditioner and ORS Replenishing Conditioner

I tried the ORS HAIRepair Nourishing Conditioner about two weeks ago and I loved it but I was not quite sure how it would fit into my hair regimen and whether it should replace my 1st love which is my Replenishing conditioner. My game plan was part my hair down the middle and apply each conditioner to one side and then do a comparison to figure out which one I prefer.

This time around I opted not to add any additional oils to the conditioner as is my usual practice and I applied to hair that was about 80 percent dry.

SCENT: I really have to say the banana scent is just a wee bit too strong for me. I really wish it were just a bit milder. On the other hand, I just love the citrus undertones of the Replenishing Conditioner.

SLIP: The HAIRepair was the definite winner when it came to slip. After applying the conditioner from root to tip, I ran my rake comb through my hair and it just glided through my hair. The Replenishing Conditioner also has slip but I would give it a 7 out of 10, whereas the HAIRepair gets a 10 out of 10.

ABSORPTION: I felt like the HAIRepair was more immediately absorbed into my hair whereas the Replenishing Conditioner sat on top of my hair. I am not sure if it is because the Replenishing Conditioner has a thicker, more waxy feeling to it as opposed to the more liquid, almost pudding-esque consistency of the HAIRepair. However, after deep conditioning with heat for 15 minutes and letting it remain for a hour after that, I really did feel like my hair had absorbed both of the conditioners.

EFFECTS ON MY NEW GROWTH: I am a stretcher and my stretches can last anywhere from 12 to 24 weeks, so it is absolutely essential that any conditioner I use my soften my new growth, moisturise it and help me to easily detangle it. Well, I have to say that both these products are amazing. They work on both my texlaxed ends and my new growth. I love their effect on my new growth. Detangling was a breeze and my new growth was left soft and fluffy.

After rinsing the conditioner out of my hair I roller set my hair and I had amazing results on either side. I found that the products were equally amazing. If there was a difference in how my hair felt, it was a very small difference.

So which one would I choose? I am really not sure. Both of the products worked really well on my hair and I feel like they could be used as perfect substitutes and give the same wonderful results. For now though, I think I will stick to the Replenishing Conditioner for the simple reason that I have two unused bottles in my stash. I will say though, if ORS were to bring out a bottle version of the HAIRepair, I'd buy it and alternate my usage of it.

I love ORS, now if only they could make a mineral oil free version of their Olive Oil lotion then I would be such a happy camper!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hair of the Day

I love protective styles and cannot wait until my hair is MBL so I can do some really cute ones. Until that day I try to work with what I've got. This is one of my favourite styles.

This is my attempt on hair that is in between SL and APL. I didn't French Braid as she did in the video. I did a Dutch Braid instead. I did the hairstyle from memory as I had seen the video a while back. Next time I will definitely do the French Braid as I think it adds to the look.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March 2012 (not really a length check)

I have decided I need to get a tripod so I can do length check shots when I want to and not have to depend on someone to take a photo of my hair.

Last night I flat ironed my hair and had several failed attempts to take a photo of the back of my hair. At least I ended up getting a decent side shot.

 My current length as of March 31st, 2012. I flat ironed my hair and then cross wrapped it in the night. I still cannot, for the life of me, cross wrap without ending up with dents.
Where I used to be in 2010. I'm not going to get depressed when I look at this photo and focus on my heartbreaking setback. Instead I am inspired. If I grew it to this length once, I can definitely do it again. At least I know my hair can be long. When I started my journey I wasn't entirely sure I could do it. Let's see where I will be by December 2012.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

ORS Olive Oil Hair Masque Review

I'm 7 weeks post and I'm one week overdue for a medium to heavy protein treatment so it was the perfect opportunity to try out the ORS Olive Oil Hair Masque. My first impression was that it had a very mild scent reminding me almost of a Jergens Lotion. It was also extremely thick, so much so that if you were to turn the jar upside down, it would not even budge.

I decided to try the product without adding any additional oils to it and applied it to hair that was 80% dry. It is very thick and spreads easily onto the hair. It didn't feel like it was easily absorbed into my hair; instead it felt as if it was coating my hair. I was happy that I didn't need a lot even though I parted my hair in small sections and applied the product from root to tip. After I put on a plastic cap and sat under the dryer for 15 minutes. I then went and prepared lunch so the conditioner stayed in my hair for several hours.

When I eventually removed my plastic cap, I noticed that my hair had really absorbed the conditioner. After washing out the conditioner, my new growth felt soft and fluffy and the length of my hair really moisturised. Although it has protein (keratin) in it and is not recommended for daily use, you would honestly believe it to be a moisturising conditioner. My hair felt that wonderful after using it. Detangling was a breeze, it just helped the comb to slide through my new growth.

ORS definitely has another winner here. I love the product without even adding extra oils to it. It is THAT good. I will definitely be adding it to my regimen and it is going to replace the Hair Mayonnaise. I will only be using it every 6 weeks and the week prior to and after my relaxer, so although it is expensive, it will last me a really long time.

Next weekend will be my light protein deep condition and I am going to try and determine whether I prefer the ORS Replenishing Conditioner or the ORS HAIRepair Nourishing Conditioner

Friday, March 30, 2012

I really want an EdgeStick

I've been going back on forth on this matter for quite some time now. My edges do not lay flat. My hair grows up and out and no matter what I try, I end up not only with fuzzy edges, but edges that coil into little balls. I have tried every method that I see working for other ladies, but for me they have all been failures. My hairline has the tightest coil when compared to the rest of my head so the scarf method, the ORS edge control and all the other products can control it but for only a short space of time--maybe an hour or two. The one product which did work ended up causing breakage in my temple area and so that was also a no-go. It caused my hair to fall out and I was left with small bald patches.

Now I have been thinking about the EdgeStick because I figure heat could lay down my edges pretty well, but therein lies the problem. I try to limit direct heat. I rarely flat iron my hair; usually only 4 times a year. I never use my blowdryer. It is there for emergency use, say one day I'm in the middle of my routine and I have to go out suddenly. Instead of roller setting, I would blow dry. That has happened only once in the 3 years I have been caring for my hair.

If I were to purchase an Edgestick, I would limit myself to using it twice a week, only after deep conditioning my hair and along with heat protectant yet I still am afraid of bi-weekly heat on such a delicate area. I have very fine hair which begins to get weighed down by product and my naturally oily scalp, so I can't do more than 3 days without washing my hair or it starts to get limp and oily. I also know if you are going to be using heat you should only do it on freshly washed, deep conditioned hair.

I know that heat is bad and does a number on hair. At the same time, could it also be that pre-hair journey, many of us used heat on a daily basis on hair that was dirty and rarely deep conditioned? Maybe that was  the cause of the hair woes when it came to heat usage.

All I know right now is that I am tired of the fuzzy hairline. I have rocked it for the past 3 years as I have never relaxed my hair sooner than 12 weeks, but of late I am really contemplating either getting an EdgeStick or reverting to my pre-hair journey days and relaxing every 8 weeks.

My question is, which is the lesser of the two evils?

Ah decisions, decisions.

Monday, March 26, 2012

ORS Crazy

I am a recovering product junkie and to avoid a relapse I tend to go shopping for hair supplies with a list in hand to ensure that I leave with only what I need. Unfortunately, sometimes even with the best of intentions one can be tempted. Am tempted I was indeed today.

My plan was to purchase another ORS HAIRepair as I wanted to deep condition half my hair with the Replenishing Conditioner and half with the HAIRepair to see which one I liked best. I meant to only pick that up, but what should I spy on the shelf just below? The ORS Hair Masque which I have been dying to try.

Now it is not cheap for only 11oz of product. I paid $81.95 in my currency which is almost US$13. It is sold on for US$10.

I tend to use the ORS Hair Mayonnaise as my medium protein treatment, once every 6 weeks and then the week prior to and after a relaxer. The Mayonnaise has hydrolyzed collagen as its protein and the Hair Masque has hydrolyzed keratin so I believe the Hair Masque is a stronger protein treatment. The label warns that the product is not for daily use.

I will be trying this out this weekend. I am going to chelate my hair with my ORS Aloe Shampoo and will follow up with the ORS Hair Masque. I also wanted to do a length check, so given that I will be doing a heavier protein treatment, I feel okay about flat ironing my hair.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

5 weeks post--trying to hold out for 7 weeks more

New growth shot: I am texlaxed to about 70-80% straight so my chemically treated hair has definite texture to it. You can tell the new growth as it has less of a sheen to it in the photo.

I made it to 5 weeks post and I am beginning to struggle. Usually I stretch anywhere from 12 weeks to 24 weeks, with Week 10 being the week when I am ready to throw in the towel. I tend to barely have any visible new growth until week 6.

Since I've been on my carrot experiment my growth rate has increased by leaps and bounds. It's beginning to get difficult and I am not sure if I can hold out for the next 7 weeks. I would really hate to have to texlax sooner than 12 weeks, but at the same time I am happy for the increased growth. I am paying particular attention to my ends to ensure that I retain my length so that my growth spurt will translate to an increase in length.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

How would you achieve this style?

I came across this photo of a half wig and I found it to be a pretty cute hairstyle which I wouldn't mind rocking. What I am wondering is how to achieve it? Do you think one could do it with the smallest size of magnetic rollers or would large perm rods be better? I don't have very small rollers so I will have to run out and get. I think I will be trying this style on Wednesday, my next wash day. I really prefer having curls to wearing my hair straight.

My ORS HAIRepair Nourishing Conditioner Review

I purchased the ORS HAIRepair Nourishing Conditioner yesterday and tested it out today. I have to say I love it. I was really pleased with the results.

My first impression of the product was that it had a distinct banana scent. It's not an overpowering scent but if you are not a fan of the smell of bananas, which is my case, then it can turn you off a bit. That being said you can't really smell it once it is in your hair. I only got the scent because I took a good whiff of it when I emptied the contents into a bowl. In terms of consistency, the product is moderately thick and is very much like a pudding. It's not a liquid as the ORS Replenishing Conditioner.

I mixed my conditioner with my regular amla, coconut and olive oils and what I found strange was that the oils would not mix in thoroughly and seemed to separate if left standing for more than a minute. Given that I am pretty heavy handed when it comes to products and I apply my conditioner like a relaxer, I would have preferred a little bit more product. In any case, I made do with what I had and separated my hair into 10 sections and applied the product to each section, concentrating on my new growth and my ends. After I combed it through with my rake comb. The conditioner had a lot of slip and I really felt like it was just enough to be evenly distributed throughout my hair.

After applying the conditioner, I put a plastic cap on and sat under my hooded dryer for 10 minutes. I didn't wash it out immediately as I had to prepare dinner. When I finally washed it out, it was about 2 hours after I had first applied it.

My hair felt wonderful after I washed out the conditioner. It was soft and felt moisturised but I could still tell that it definitely had protein in it. I cannot truthfully say it helped me with detangling because the way I wash my hair prevents any tangling from occurring. What I can say is that my new growth felt light and fluffy and my comb went through my new growth very easily. I roller set my hair in small rollers and after I took them out, I could definitely say the product
works for my hair. I got the results I wanted; my hair was soft, shiny and bouncy. 

Now would I use it again? I would love to use it again, but the cost is a bit prohibitive for me. It was almost double the price of the ORS Replenishing Pak. If I were to make it a staple in my regimen, I would definitely need to use 1 1/2 packs because at the end I was really scraping the bowl to get the remaining product. I use a light protein once a week so double the price of the Replenishing Conditioner (which I love) doesn't really appeal to me. What I would like to do next week is part my hair down the middle and on one half do the Replenishing Conditioner and on the other, the Nourishing Conditioner and then see which one I prefer. If the Nourishing one wins, then I will put out the extra cash. It's a pity I didn't think of that earlier.

Update: I did a side by side test of the Replenishing Conditioner and the HAIRepair Nourishing Conditioner. You can view it here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm so excited

It is here! It is finally here! Today I went to replenish my stock of staple products and came across the pack version of the ORS HAIRepair Nourishing Conditioner. I was so excited it finally made it to Trinidad. I paid $13.95 in local currency (a little more than US$2) which I must admit is a bit on the pricey side for one use. That being said, I cannot wait until tomorrow to wash my hair to try it out--sounds a bit weird but oh well, hahaha. I'm due for a light protein on Saturday. I will swap out my regular ORS Replenishing Conditioner and see what I think.

I am thinking it might be a bit heavy on the protein side as it contains hydrolyzed collagen pretty high up in the ingredient listing. It also has dimethicone which scares me a bit due to my product build-up hair breakage experience throughout 2011 but at least it is in the middle of the ingredient listing and I use a sulphate shampoo now, so I should be fine in any case.

Can't wait to try the product. A review will be coming tomorrow or tonight, in case I succumb to the temptation and wash and deep condition my hair tonight. After all, the last time I washed it was on Tuesday and today is Friday. I think my hair could do with a wash *big grin*

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My inspiration shot

I came across this photo today and was instantly in love with the length of this girl's hair. I doubt very much that is not a weave, but it is the length what got me. This is my dream length of hair. It is what I am working towards and even though I experienced a drastic set back which put me back at my 2009 length, I know it is possible. I believe that one day I'll be posting a shot of me and my hair looking like this!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lots of new growth and less than 1 month post

I am currently 3 weeks post and my new growth is coming in fast and furious. I have been doing my eat 1-2 carrots a day experiment ever since my relaxer and I can see a definite change in my growth rate. I have been eating carrots every day since November of last year to give my adult acne-prone skin a boost of internal Vitamin A. A pleasant side effect of my increased carrot, and therefore beta carotene, intake has been an increase in my growth rate. I decided to up the ante and instead of eating half a carrot a day, I was going to aim for 1 or 2 carrots. This is the most I would dare to eat, any more and I risk the soles of my feet and the palm of my hands turning temporarily orange.

It definitely works though. At 3 weeks post I usually do not have any major new growth. At 3 weeks post while eating 1-2 carrots a day and I have so much new growth it is beginning to coil up and this normally happens when I am anywhere past 8 weeks post. I can no longer even wear my bangs as they have begun to grow out and the only way to have them lay flat would be to flat iron the new growth and I'm not a fan of using lots of direct heat. I am going to continue my experiment and hopefully I will be able to stretch to 14 weeks to relax just in time for my birthday.

It's not necessarily carrots that grow your hair. It is the beta carotene. I would even go so far as to say that you could eat other foods with the orange/yellow pigment and also dark green and have the same benefits. Beta carotene is converted in the body to Vitamin A which is essential for bone and tooth development and healthy hair, skin and nails.

I would also like to add that I have a very healthy diet. I do not eat any processed foods nor any added sugars. My growth rate had increased since I began eating more peas, beans, fruits and vegetables in an effort to clear my skin. The extra beta carotene has just taken it a step further and has perhaps helped my hair to grow at its optimum rate.