Curls and Lipstick

My Curly Girly Life

Archive for the tag “natural hair”

My Shedding

Ok, we all know the difference between a broken hair and a shed hair, right? If not, a shed hair is a hair that naturally falls out the scalp (with the root bulb attached) at the end of its natural life. A broken hair is broken at a place along the length of the hair. Hair can be broken anywhere along the hair shaft where it has been weakened or simply because the hair was pulled too taut i.e. rough handling. It’s rumored that everyone sheds (not breaks) around 100 hairs a day standard.

I’ve been eyeing the hair I lose since I cut my hair in February. Let me tell you I am so pleased (in a southern voice)! I’m pleased because when I was permed, I shed like a cat. I know that’s a common saying, but I’m for real… Like… strands of hair was all over the sink and counter and floor and shower and wall (not really but you get my drift) every.single.morning. I know most of these were BROKEN hairs because there were no roots attached and the hairs were different sizes. I used a wide tooth comb and hardly brush it, so I can’t say it was from rough handling. It was breaking because it was essentially damaged (perms work by breaking down proteins along the strand and all that jazz I don’t want to get into right now), on top of that I have microscopically thin strands and perms made it that much more fragile. I also learned that this chronic shedding was my hair rebelling against the perm, it was dry, and grease wasn’t my friend. What a recipe for a mess! I’m surprised I had bra strap length straight hair actually… It was getting nothing that it needed on a regular basis *clears throat* umm water and good oils! I think I retained length because I never wore my hair down (so no damage from the environment), wrapped it up nightly, and I wore ponytails that I didn’t pull too tight. Low manipulation saved my hair.

Now a day, my shredding has been massively reduced and it consists mainly of shed hair instead of broken hair. I see the lost hair when I finger detangle during cowashes during the week for my wash and go’s and when I comb by hair when deep condition every other week. In between these times, there is no hair on my shirt, on my pillow, or on the floor like before. I’m sure I still lose hair, but it’s caught up in the curls and can’t easily fall out. This is why when I do detangle, I expect more than 100 hairs, maybe even double this, but even then I don’t think I get that much.

This is my shed hair. ATTENTION: If you don’t like hairballs, this may be graphic!

Shed Hair

Note: This is a dual use picture. It also shows the 2 different textures of hair on my head. There will be a post about this later. 🙂

The hairball is after I detangled with a comb when I lose the most hair. Does this look like 100 hairs to you? This is a serious question. I have no clue. I thought about counting them but I chickened out because that may be a tad insane. I did audit 10 hairs and only 2 of the 10 were broken! This says so much! I handle my hair, in my opinion, way more than I ever did when I was permed and the shredding is zilch compared to then. The individual hairs on my head are super thin, even though I have a massive amount of them, and I would think they would be more susceptible to breakage no matter what kind of tender loving care I gave to my tresses.

This difference in shedding alone has been a huge payoff in going natural. If I retained length when my hair was fundamentally unhealthy, what amazing things are in store now that I am actually more concerned about the health of my hair this time around?

Have you noticed any difference in shedding since you’ve become natural?

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I Can.Not. Use Silk Pillowcases

I heard all the hype on Natural Hair Nation (YouTube) about natural haired people using silk pillowcases in lieu of bonnets and scarves. Like, really? Were they better? Is it like sleeping on cotton? Will my hair be protected like I have on a bonnet/scarf? This sounded edgy… Even a little dangerous. The first videos and articles I came across were of naturals of the longer haired variety who literally couldn’t fit all their hair inside a bonnet and opted for this alternative. I don’t think I met that prerequisite, but I had to see what it was all about and ordered me one! I decided on an ivory 100% charmeuse silk variety (ivory because I’m leery of dye). It came and it was so soft and silky! I was excited to use it.

Thinking back, I can count on one hand how many times (IN LIFE) I’ve slept without a scarf. I’ve stayed up for hours looking for it if it were lost. I’ve even come home super late (not being in my right mind) and still had enough sense to wrap my hair up… Yes, it was that serious. The times I have slipped up was either because; 1. I slept somewhere I didn’t plan on sleeping, or 2. I couldn’t find it and I was going to be getting my hair done in the morning anyway. In either case, I grinned and beared even though I found it super uncomfortable to sleep without it. My scarf was my security blanket.

I washed the pillowcase and did a fresh wash and go the morning before I slept on the pillowcase for the first time. In testing the silk pillowcase, I wanted to see if; 1. it stripped moisture from my hair, 2. the previous day’s wash and go was salvageable, like could be when using a bonnet, and 3. it was comfortable to sleep on.

I went to bed and when I woke up the next morning, I had bedhead as I usual but a little more so. My hair was more free to move and it had spread in various places revealing my scalp, instead of my hair being flatten on itself like when it’s contained in a bonnet. There was no matting though. I attribute that to my hair being able to slide back and forth on the pillowcase as I moved during the night instead of bunching. After retreating from bed, I was able to refreshed my hair with my spray-bottle-o-water as usual. The curls sprung back to life around the exposed scalp area with no problems. I got good second day hair and my hair dried soft. I don’t use a moisturizer when refreshing my WNGs so, to me, that meant I kept the moisture I had from the day before and that the pillowcase didn’t strip my hair of the moisture. I was very pleased!

On the comfort tip, it was so-so. On the one hand, the silkiness next to my skin felt like heaven! It was very nice to snuggle up to. I’ve read that others thought that it felt hot during the night and some even sweated, but I didn’t have that issue at all! Actually, it thought it stayed rather cool… like the other side of the pillow <<see what I did there? I made a funny! Everytime I changed positions I was greeted by a chill that you just can’t buy in Florida. Very nice.

On the other hand, laying on it, I felt err… naked. It was generally uncomfortable not having anything on my head. The habit and the feel of having something on my hair at night (for DECADES!) I don’t think can be shaking in one night. Every now and then during the night, I actually woke up looking for my bonnet thinking it had slipped off. Weird, right?

I slept on it for about 3 days and, to my surprise, I did become slightly more comfortable sleeping without the bonnet and aside from the discomfort of being naked-headed, I was happy I had bought the silk pillowcase. It wasn’t until I looked in the mirror and examined my face that I noticed I was starting to breaking out! There weren’t pimples, but these heat bump looking things I get when my face isn’t exfoliated often enough. I have severely oily skin so good skin care is a must. I know I hadn’t been slipping on thoroughly cleaning/exfoliating as usual and the only thing changed and had contact with my face was the pillowcase!

Thinking about it, it made perfect sense. Silk pillowcases works so well for the hair because it doesn’t wick away moisture; the weave of silk just can’t absorb it. Here’s an excerpt of a great visual about how silk behaves against moisture from EboniCurls (heck, watch the whole thing! Great info on satin vs silk). And as you can see, any deposit of oil/water/conditioner/whatever from the hair (however little) sits on the surface. Over time, the silk will start having that translucent look to it we’ve all seen with old silk scarves. Yea so… My face was laying all up on that pillow with the oil residue and I broke out. Gross!

In conclusion, this pillowcase is a no-go for me. I need the oil wicking properties of cotton to keep my skin clear. I have nothing bad to say about the silk pillow concerning the hair, it held up nicely to the hype when it comes to retaining moisture and such and I can definitely see how other naturals love it, but me and my oil-sensitive skin Can.Not. I don’t know what I will use if I ever outgrew my bonnet.

Back to the drawing board. Maybe pineapple and a regular scarf? Or a mushawa sleeve? Is that what it’s called?

What do you do to protect your long hair at night?

Hair Regimen **PRODUCTS UPDATED**

*****Bold and in parenthesis notes reason for change*****

Mission: Locate products that give optimal results.

Optimal Results: MOISTURIZED hair!

•••Please consider my hair’s attributes when reading my regimen and products I use•••

♥*´`*•.¸ Current Arsenal ¸.•*´`*♥

(I try to use products with as many natural ingredients as possible!)

Shampoo

  • Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Shampoo

Deep Conditioner (DC)

  • Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner + EVOO
  • Curl Junkie Curl Rehab (haven’t tried as a DC yet, only as LI)
  • Curl Junkie Repair Me! (protein conditioner/treatment – unopened as of now)

CoWash Conditioners – Rinse Out (RI)

  • Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner
  • VO5 Kiwi Lime Squeeze Conditioner (just haven’t used it in a while)
  • Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Conditioner (too creamy to ‘wash’ with)
  • Curl Junkie Daily Fix (when there’s a bad product reaction, i.e. whiteness)
  • Curl Junkie Beauticurls Argan and Olive Oil Daily Conditioner (moved from both LI and RI to RI only)

Leave In Conditioners/Creams/Milks/Etc (LI)

  • Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Curl Moisturizing Conditioner
  • Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl and Style Milk
  • Darcy’s Botanicals Cocoa Bean Curl Smoothing Cream
  • Darcy’s Botanicals Pumkin Kernel Hydrating Milk (added — forgot to put on list initially)
  • Darcy’s Botanicals Shea Butter Curl Moisturizing Cream (never used it on my hair; had only a sample so I used it as hand lotion :-/) 
  • Curl Junkie Curl Rehab
  • Oyin’s Hair Dew

Styling Gels/Puddings/Custards

  • Kiss My Face Upper Management Gel
  • L’Oreal Paris EverStyle Alcohol-Free Curl-Defining Gel (Too many humectants for Florida dews — frizz central!)

Spritzes for Refreshing a Wash and Go

  • High Quality H2O
  • Shea Moisture Hold and Shine Moisture Mist
Oil/Sealants
  • Pure Jojoba Oil (used only for the occasional scalp massage)
  • Oyin’s Burnt Sugar Pomade (added – used to seal my edges)

Ok. So I’m product obsessed. Judge me.

♥*´`*•.¸ Current Everyday Wash and Go Regimen ¸.•*´`*♥

(I redo my hair almost daily using the following technique while in the shower)

  1. Cowash with a RO.
  2. Divide my hair into 4-6 sections and clip up.
  3. Undo one section.
  4. Finger detangle, rinse out RO, apply a LI conditioner/cream/milk-of-the-moment.
  5. Apply a styler like a gel/pudding/custard-of-the-moment.
  6. Clip section back up.
  7. Repeat on all the sections.
  8. Get out the shower, unclip all sections, and shake it out!
  9. Let it air dry.
  10. I DON’T TOUCH UNTIL AFTER IT DRIES!

Wash, Deep Condition, and Detangle Day (every other week):

  1. Wash with a sulfate-free shampoo.
  2. Apply deep conditioner.
  3. Detangle with wide tooth comb with deep conditioner distributed in hair.
  4. Rinse.
  5. Follow the regular routine, starting with the leave in.

Spacey Edges

I have spacey edges on the left side of my head. I came to realize this by watching YouTube videos and seeing the great concern about protecting edges. I start looking at mine and low and behold, the left side looks kind of sketchy.

I analyzed my routine and traced it back to when I was permed. I thinks it’s from decades of brushing against the grain when wrapping my hair at night (you can read all about it in my hair info and challenges post). When it was permed, my edges just looked like I had a lot of “baby hair” and I never notice that maybe it was just… umm… thin. But now that I’m natural, these baby hairs curl up and reveal some spacey-ness.

So I’ve decided to make a challenge out of it and attempt to thicken them up and/or sprout some new hairs. Here are the interventions I putting into place;

  1. Moisturize my edges with water both day and night. I wash and go almost everyday, so I got the day moisturizing down. At night, I’ll lightly spritz my edges with water.
  2. Directly seal my edges after moisturizing. I say directly because I call myself indirectly sealing my hair using leave-in that are pretty heavily laden with oils. Now, I will put “real” oil on my edges, after moisturizing.
  3. No pull back styles. This isn’t hard because I have a TWA! I must admit though, I have pinned my sides up on a couple of occasions using those little Goodie combs making a slight mohawk. It’s not an everyday style so I can easily, but sadly, give that up.

More on the sealing of my edges. I’m choosing to use Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade as the sealer. This pomade has stellar ingredients! The top ingred is castor oil. Time and time again praises have been shouted across Natural Nation about the growth obtained when using this oil.

Note: I’m not one to believe in a magical miracle growth agent/ingredient. Hair retains length when it has everything it needs to thrive and is handled with care. I believe that castor oil must be great at keeping moisture locked in and in return makes it look like you’ve had great growth results. So since it has these great claims tied to it, i thought this would be the perfect pomade to use.

Also, I like this pomade’s thickness. I think it will guard against any potential damage caused by the band of my bonnet rubbing against my edges all night. I don’t like that it’s elastic and could catch a hair or two, pulling them out as it stretches and relaxes. I need something that couldn’t possibly be soaked up by the bonnet and creates a physical barrier between the bonnet and my edges. I was debating about using regular jojoba oil, but I think it’s much too light. I think this pomade fits the bill.

Look out for updated pictures about every two weeks… This should be good!

**** UPDATE 8/16/12****

It’s been two weeks and wash day has come back around. I have been about 93% compliant with sealing my edges day and night. Here is an updated picture taken today;

I see one difference instantly — the very edge of my edges (where my face ends and my hair begins) looks darker, as in more filled in. Though the hair is not long, there’s less skin showing. Maybe I’m sprouting some new hairs? What do you think? Hair grows about 1/2 inch per month and it’s been two weeks, so it could have theoretically grown 1/4 inch. Haha… What’s 1/4 inch? Peach fuzz?! I guess peach fuzz turns into a beard eventually…

That’s all I see. Do you notice any changes?

I’ll update again in two weeks. This is going to be a long process. It’s cool though, I like watching water boil.

P.S. The smell of the Burnt Sugar Pomade is getting old!

**** UPDATE 8/30/12****

Ok, so another two weeks has lapse and it’s ‘poo day again! I’ve been less compliant than last time; I’ve been slipping on sealing in the AM after washing-and-going (I’ve been running late!), but I’ve been diligent on rewetting my edges and sealing them every night. Here’s an updated pic;The lighting is different, but it looks like it’s making progress, huh? I wish my hand wasn’t in the way so you can see that farther back it’s filling in also. According to Natural Hair Nation (YouTube), I should have grown a full 1/2 inch by now! Hmmm… I don’t know about all that, but it’s definitely getting less “spacey” and that good enough for me.

I still haven’t figured out, though, if it’s the castor oil by itself in the Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade that’s helping my edges retain growth or if it’s the combination of ingredients that’s effective. I think this is good time to try out Castor Oil by itself and see if all the hype is true since I’m smack-dab in the middle of a grow out challenge. Granted: Castor oil is the number one ingredient in the pomade, but the smell of it is killing me slowly, day by day. Can you get Castor Oil on the ground? I will def pick some up if I run across it while I’m out and about.

The challenge continues… See you in a couple of weeks!

My First Swim in the Ocean with Natural Hair | South Beach, Miami!

Hi Yal,

I’m was in Miami Beach for an impromptu get-a-way this weekend and I had a bawl!!! I sooo miss living there… I had so much fun!

Anyway, I was all up in the Atlantic Ocean! The water was warm and the sand was hot!

I was afraid of the salt water getting all up in my hair’s cuticle. I thought it would make my hair explode from what I hear about swimming and natural hair. It bummed me out because I figured being a natural head would make me run for the water faster because I can rinse/wash/condition/whatever at a drop of a dime. The advice online said I should saturate my hair with water OR oil, or water AND oil, or JUST oil before I got in, then rinse as soon as I got out, and apply conditioner promptly after that. Girl, bye!

Let me tell you what I did do… I hopped right in that there ocean and swam like a fish! I mean I came prepared with my spray-bottle-o-water to saturate my hair before getting in (the idea is to fill the hair up with regular water so it couldn’t absorb much salt water), but umm yea right. That clear water was calling me. I mean it just salt right?

I stayed out in the water like I was a marine biologist. My friends couldn’t get me back to the shore. I was all in, out, and under the waves. I was so deep in, that the lifeguard came by on a Jet Ski to tell me and others that we needed to go in some. There were other girls in almost as far as me trying to keep their hair clipped up so it wouldn’t get wet but it kept coming down. I even saw a girl with a shower cap! I don’t remember being that concerned when I was permed. I mean, you can’t be that far into the ocean and expect to not get your hair wet. You embrace it. You either wade with the kids by the shore and keep your hair dry or get in, get wet, and fix it later. I wasn’t even bothered. I was bobbing in and out of the water, keeping it moving. The girls eyed me a few times, which was cool. Women are curious about natural hair and I was all like “Look what I can do!” in my Stuart voice from MadTV (remember him?).

After I was finally dragged out, I didn’t run straight for the shower. I LOL’ed and BS’ed with my friends for however long before I made it over to the spout. When we finally did mosey off the beach, my hair hadn’t quite dried so it couldn’t have been that long. I proceeded to rinsed my hair very well. It didn’t feel dry. After I rinsed, I applied a couple of quarter sized amounts of Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner I had brought with me. I left that in my hair and let it dry while we did other things around Miami. My hair felt good and it was super curly!

I didn’t actually plan on shampooing my hair after the beach to tell you the truth. I didn’t think it was necessary. In my mind it’s just salt and salt is water-soluble, right? I planned on just re-rinsing and cowashing to get the rest of the salt out as soon as we got back to the hotel. What was a bummer and probably a bad move, was that I didn’t do a cowash when I got in the shower because we got back so late and I refuse to sleep with wet hair. I didn’t like that. I was up with the birds the next morning, though, singing under the shower head.

All and all, my hair feels good. It was Saturday when I went to the beach and it’s now Tuesday. It’s soft and still über curly even though I’ve WNG’ED twice since then. I’m definitely keeping a close eye on my hair to see if there are any negative effect of the salt water, but so far so good.

I’ll update if I notice anything.

Until next time Miami…

Found a Way to Use My Denman!

This is how I’ve learned to incorporate a Denman in my detangling routine. I use it after I detangle with a wide tooth comb. It settles my curls down faster after I’ve ruffled them during shampooing, deep conditioning, and detangling with the comb. I does not GIVE me curls.

My Curl Mart Came!

Stay tuned for pix/reviews!

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