Thursday, February 23, 2012

I am sweating the small stuff

In life people always tell you "don't sweat the small stuff." Focus on the big issues at hand and don't worry about trying to perfect every little detail. I think that is excellent advice for day to day living, but hair is another matter.

Now that my hair is back on track and I have been able to put the big issues aside, my attention is now being turned to the small stuff. For me the small stuff i.e. the breakage of my hairline could not get my full attention because of my length retention issues. I relax my hair and then within 2 weeks that area is all new growth with no relaxed ends as well. That tells me that some breakage is occurring. I also have the same problem with the nape of my neck.

I am beginning to think that the culprits are my elasticised satin bonnets. Of late, I have been turning the bonnets inside out but some of them are still really tight and could be the cause of the breakage.

Today I went to a pharmacy and came across the satin edge "Stay on Satin Cap". What sold me was that the cap has no exposed elastic which can break the edges of the hair. What I do not like is that in the place of the elastic, there is a surged hem which may or may not cause problems. My plan is turn the cap inside out as the cap has a smooth finish. I am hoping that this will translate into less breakage of my hairline.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beautiful Protective Style

Sometimes the inspiration for a protective style comes from the most unlikely of places. Today I was doing some online window shopping on and I came across a lovely side bun with a loose French braid on one side. Once I saw the style I had to copy and save the photos. I will be experimenting with this style once I grow my hair back to APL.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Relaxers and Fibroids: Is there a link?

A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology is hypothesising that hair relaxer use increases the risk of developing fibroids and can also provoke early puberty. The article does not come out and say that relaxer use causes it but the researchers believe that as we expose ourselves to harmful chemicals through scalp lesions and burns resulting from relaxer use there will be consequences.

Now I am not going to come out and state the relaxers are the most natural, most gentle things out there. If you read the warnings on the relaxer box you know that you are playing with a strong chemical and just because women have been using them for decades does not mean they are 100 percent safe. However, I choose to do it and I don't really think that they have conclusive evidence. They have found a link, but I also wonder if diet can't have a link as well. People eat so much processed food with ingredients they can neither pronounce nor identify and yet they don't think twice about what these things are doing to their bodies.

People also use products containing parabens and they use them from head to toe without thinking about the fact that parabens can interfere with your hormones and have been even found in breast cancer tumours. This is scary because in the past it was believed that parabens could not be absorbed into the skin.

So for now, I will keep relaxing. I relax only 3-4 times a year and I always have. I guess I was stretching even before I knew what stretching was. However, I am not going to be that extreme and say that if there was conclusive evidence that relaxers could cause severe harm that I would continue relaxing. At the end of the day I just want long hair. I have always wanted long hair ever since I was a child. Now I know it is possible whether relaxed or natural.

So ladies, what do you think? Is there a cause for concern? Would you take precautionary action and stop relaxing or will you continue relaxing until you are certain?

Waiting for my hair to grow: Mini Update

After a year of frustration and several cuts amounting to over 6 inches, I can finally say I am happy with the condition of my hair. I am happy with the way my hair turns out on wash days. My hair looks and feels well moisturised between washes and has a lot of body and bounce. So now I am just waiting for my hair to get back to the point it was before I experienced my major setback.

I am approaching the 2 weeks post mark and will probably be texlaxing 12 weeks from now which will coincide with my 30th birthday. During this time I will be continuing my regimen for general hair maintenance but intend to focus on certain problem areas. I am trying to remember to moisturise my hair edges and nape as I tend to neglect these areas. I also experienced some breakage in the crown area during my last stretch and I have realised I need to pay particular attention to this area as well. That's basically it. I'm in mode maintenance and waiting for my hair to start showing a change in length.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

1st texlaxer of the year: Recovering from Setbacks

I texlaxed yesterday ( i.e. I relaxed my hair but not bone straight) at 12 weeks post. I did a reverse rollerset and then a light flat iron. I am pretty happy with the results and can see my hair regrowing from the setbacks of 2011. Definitely on track to making APL in 2012. I am hoping to be there by June/July 2012.

The major thing I like about my hair now is that it no longer has an extreme V. Even if my hair begins to grow back in a V shape it should not be extreme. I am not necessarily a fan of a blunt cut so I don't mind a subtle V or even a U but I am over the photos where you have to pull the back to show where the tip of the V lays. Been there, done that for three years. And since I am starting over, I prefer to have all my hair reaching the same lengths at around the same time.

I don't want to make any estimates about when I will hit BSL/MBL or WL until my relaxer in May and I see how near I am to APL. For the next 12 weeks I am going to continue eating healthy, drinking a lot of water and doing better with taking my supplements. Many of my supplements are primarily for the health of my skin, but the hair also benefits from them. I take cod liver oil, evening primrose oil, MSM and a multivitamin. I was also on silica but I took a break from it. I had too many pills to take.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Texlaxing, carrot growth challenge and crown breakage


I will be texlaxing tomorrow at 12.5 weeks post. I went out today and bought my staple relaxer which is the ORS No-Lye Relaxer in Normal. I decided to buy the professional version of the neutralising shampoo. I never find the shampoo in the pack to be enough so I always have a bottle on handy. I also got a triangle hair net to hold my curlers in place. I jokingly told my mom that I have a hair salon in my room: professional flat iron, professional hair dryer, professional products.
It is about time to texlax. I can no longer style my hair with this much growth. I am curious to see how much length I will get from this new growth.

Carrot Growth Challenge

A few weeks ago I was speculating that my growth spurt was due to my increased carrot intake. I came across a thread on the LHCF and a lot of ladies had the same results. They actually had a challenge in which most of them decided to drink carrot juice. I eat one carrot a day and have seen significant results. I think I am going to go up a two carrots a day. Anymore than 2 carrots and I run the risk of the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet turning orange. I will be doing a personal carrot growth challenge starting from tomorrow until my next texlaxer which will be in May around the same time as my birthday.

Crown Breakage

I noticed that a small section my texlaxed ends have snapped off at the line of demarcation in the crown area. I know this area is one of the more fragile ones as it is always exposed to the elements. I therefore need to pay more attention to that area when moisturising.

My Wedding Hairstyle

Now a post on this subject seems a bit nutty given that I am not currently in the process of planning my wedding (heck, I don't even have a boyfriend at this point) but I love the hairdo and I intend to rock it whenever I end up walking down the aisle, or having my civil ceremony, or whatever.

I am not the stereotypical girl who planned an elaborate wedding ever since she was a little girl. I'm not really that into weddings. All I really care about is marrying the right guy and all other things are immaterial. I am more interested in the marriage than the wedding.

That being said, my hair has to look cute (even if I do have a civil ceremony) and when I saw this hairstyle I called my mum to see it and announced to her that this would be my wedding hairstyle. I want to rock it and rock it without the help of extensions. That means I need to be on point with the retention of my length. Although I am reasonably tall for a girl, I have a short torso so I would need to have WL hair to perfectly recreate this style.

I have a long ways to go. Let's hope I can grow my hair to my goal length by the time God leads me to the right man.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Return of the product junkie

I am a recovering product junkie and things were going well until I entered a drugstore today. It was really hot in Port of Spain and I went just to get some water. Given this drugstore also has a pretty decent selection of products I decided just to take a look. I was excited when I discovered that they carried an Amla Oil brand which was mineral oil free. When I first started my hair journey I was big on alma oil until I discovered that most have mineral oil as its base. I was completely turned off alma because of that. This purchase can be justified as it was a mineral oil free amla! If I like it I will have to go get the 3 bottles they had remaining.
Now I had another weak moment in another store. I intended to replenish a conditioner that I ran out of. The intention was not to buy something new. Unfortunately I saw a conditioner that intrigued me and I had to get it. The conditioner was made by none other than Luster's and it was in the Pink Brand. Now everyone knows about Luster's and their infamous Pink Oil Moisturiser. Back in the day I would use this thing as a setting lotion and a moisturiser. I would use it to set my hair every night before bed.
Every since I began my hair journey, I have run away from mineral oil and petroleum so when I saw a conditioner from the Pink line my first opinion was "That has got to be full of mineral oil.' To my surprise it was not. In fact the ingredients did not look half bad and it was cone free. I have an interesting relationship with cones and until I figure out how to safely incorporate them into my regimen, I am taking a break from them. The conditioner seems pretty decent. The only negative is that it appears to be a bit thin. I don't need a thick conditioner like a masque, but I don't think it should be runny either which is what the Luster's is.
I will be trying both of these products today and I will give my opinion later.

Baggying my ends

hen I first started my hair journey some 3 years ago I was serious about baggying my hair. Sometimes I would just baggy the ends and sometimes the whole head. I don't really know why I ever stopped. Today I signed into Youtube and saw that Sunshyne from Hairlista posted a video about baggying and my reaction was "I completely forgot about baggying!"

I have since decided to reintroduce the baggying of my ends in my regime. I am going back to basics here because 2012 is all about retention of my ends. Baggying is important, particularly for the ends as it helps to keep them moisturised. If your hair is well moisturised, it is less likely to become brittle and break off. I usually put my hair in a high ponytail, add some moisturiser to the ends and then place a shower cap over the ends.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thinking about cutting bangs

My 30th birthday will be in May and I would like a new look. I decided to google haistyles for your faceshape and noticed that side swept bangs are recommended for those with a heart shaped face.

I have two concerns when it comes to bangs. My major issue is whether the bangs would provoke a breakout on my extremely acne prone skin. I am concerned that daily moisturising and sealing of that area would mean that the products I put in my hair would end up on my face and clog my pores. Secondly, what are the complications of bangs and relaxed hair? Would I need to put heat in my hair on a daily basis to keep my bangs straight?

I have looked at several videos and the simplest method I have seen is this one. I am not too worried about messing it up as it is only hair and will grow back. If it doesn't work out, I will just pin it up until it grows out. I know I could go to stylist but I have trust issues when it comes to other people working on my hair. In any case, I just want to try it. If it doesn't work out, I will just have to grow it back out. We'll see what happens.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My favourite source for protective hairstyle ideas

Lilith Moon on Youtube does the most amazing hairstyles. A lot of her styles are updos and therefore protective hairstyles. I have found many a hairstyle on her channel. Her her is between SL and APL so a lot of her styles are really applicable to a girl with shorter hair, but can also be used for those with longer hair.

Here is one of her newest looks:-

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cutting my stretch short

After going back and forth on the whole long stretch thing, I decided to stretch my relaxer to 14 weeks as I really wanted to relax the 3rd or 4th week of February and then in May for my birthday. That plan is not going to work, however, as my friend invited me to her bridal shower and it is next week. I currently look crazy as I have a lot of new growth although I am only 12 weeks post. The reverse roller set does wonders to tame my new growth, but I am at the point where styling my hair is a challenge at this stage. It was easier when my hair was longer but now that I am back to shoulder length, I just have no idea what to do with it when it has this much new growth and it goes pouf!

Today will be my last wash before my relaxer which I might do on either the 9th or 10th of February. My relaxer preparation is quite simple. I have the same regimen except that I use the ORS Hair Mayonnaise to give my hair a bit of extra protein. I will go a week without washing my hair but will moisturise and seal as usual. I like to relax my hair early in the morning and it usually will take me a few hours to complete the entire process. I am excited to see how much length this amount of new growth will translate into.