Category Archives: More About Me

The Next Chapter: Third Trimester Update

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25weeks_dressy25 weeks 

I know, I know. I haven’t posted in forever. Again. Sorry. But, now that I have entered my third trimester (29 weeks 5 days as of today), I wanted to come out of blog hibernation to give an update on my pregnancy and answer some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)!

Q: When is your due date?
A: My due date is officially February 6, 2015. However, due to a prior and significant myomectomy in my early 30s to remove multiple large fibroids, I have to have a Cesarean section at 36 weeks. My doctors don’t want to risk me going into labor or rupturing. So, right now, we are expecting our new arrival on January 16th! It’s kind of crazy for us right now as we were expecting it to be at 37 weeks! Though it’s only a week earlier, we know the time is going to fly with so many things to do, including holiday gatherings, Christmas shopping, showers, and nursery preparation!

Q: Do you know what you are having?
A: Yes. We have known since the last day of week 12.  We are having a girl :). We found out due to a relatively new, non-invasive screening test called MaterniT21 that tests for 4 different chromosome defects, including defects to the X and Y chromosomes. It’s a blood test and they are able to isolate the baby’s blood from mom’s in order to look for defects. I surmise that if they don’t find any Y chromosomes, it’s a girl and if they do, it’s a boy.

babyGC28weeks28 weeks

Q: Do you have a name?
A: Yes. We’ve had that since 13 weeks. But, we are keeping that one on the DL for the most part until little miss lady arrives :). We told our close family and friends though and most seem to really like it. It’s relatively unique, but not difficult or weird (we think. lol!). There is also a reason behind each part of it.

Q: How do you feel?
A:
I have had a great pregnancy! Well, I should say, once I found out I was pregnant, I did! LOL!! The thing is, before I knew I was pregnant, I busted my head in the bathroom (slipped and hit my head behind my ear on the countertop), had a bad allergy attack for two weeks, eye infection, cold sore, and was horribly fatigued for two days. On day two of the fatigue is when I had a twinkling of hope … I went home after work and took an ovulation test (which can detect the pregnancy hormone) and it was positive when I knew I should be getting my cycle in a day or two.  Then, with bated breath, I a real pregnancy test with bated breath. Lo and behold, I was pregnant!!

Anywho, after that, other than being tired earlier than normal, I really have had minimal symptoms. I never had morning sickness, food aversions, rabid cravings, or mood swings. I’ve had sporadic heartburn, but Tums have been adequate to treat that and it’s never been horrible. On occasion, I’ve had a little back pain, which is usually resolved with a few pelvic tilts/ab contractions. The back pain is usually when I feel like baby girl is going through a growth spurt! That is really the worst of it … the distended, stretched, my skin can’t expand any further, stuffed like every day is Thanksgiving feeling that won’t go away with a nap or extended trip to the bathroom, if you know what I’m saying ;-P! LOL!!  But, knowing what symptoms others experience during pregnancy, I’m not complaining! Because, it really has been smooth sailing for the most part!

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Q: What has been your favorite part of being pregnant?
A: Feeling and SEEING baby girl moving has been one of the most miraculous things. Weird. But miraculous. We KNOW that we are so truly blessed to be experiencing this. This is a first child for both Wei and me at 44 and 42, respectively. I always knew that I wanted to get married and have children, but wasn’t in any rush. However, as the years passed, I definitely became nervous, wondering if it would ever happen. The constant bombardment in the media with the “statistics” about getting pregnant after 35 didn’t help. And, I had seen friends and co-workers try for years and using fertility specialists to get pregnant. But, whenever I would feel down, I would see the stories of women having babies over 40 and call up Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT):

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

It would ground me every time. And at 42, in 5 months time, I was pregnant with a healthy baby girl. Some days I still can’t believe that I’m so blessed to be experiencing this. It’s still surreal and I’m awestruck every day. God is so good.

Q: Do you have stretch marks/how do you prevent stretch marks?
A:
So far, so good. I haven’t gotten any stretch marks. But, from what I’ve read, it’s mostly genetic and not prevented by creams and/or butters. However, I do think that controlling my weight gain for the most part and keeping moisturized helps. At 29 weeks, I’ve put on about 16 pounds so far and I have been using a combo of lotion, an oil mix (coconut, jojoba, and castor), and shea butter to lube up each morning. Through the summer and early fall, I only used the coconut oil and shea butter. But once it started getting cool and dry, that just wasn’t cutting it, even when I added the thicker jojoba and castor oils to the coconut oil. My skin would be CRAWLING with itchiness. So, I started using the St. Ives Naturally Soothing Oatmeal and Shea Butter lotion as my first layer, prior to applying the oil mix and shea butter. That helped immediately.

25weeks25 weeks: Linea nigra in effect, but stretch mark free.

Q: Has your navel popped?
A: Y’all, I was not feeling my deep innie belly button popping. Like for real, the idea of it was freaking me out! I’ve heard mixed things on this. Some say their navel never popped, others said it didn’t pop until the last few weeks. There’s a little bit that is out on the top edge of mine, but I think it’s only going to stretch flat as there doesn’t seem to be anything that can pop now. Guess we’ll see!

Q: Have you continued to exercise?
A: Yeah … no. At least, not consistently. I was working out when I first got pregnant, would fall off a couple weeks, start again, stop again, start again, stop again … I’m still on a stop. I just haven’t been focused enough in the morning to get going and at night, I’m too tired. I’m promising myself that once I’m pulled out on disability that I’ll walk at least 15 minutes a day and do yoga as well. At least I can get a month of working out in before the little lady arrives as I know I won’t be able to do too much in those weeks immediately following her birth and the C-section. Fortunately, Wei will be home to help me.

longwalk18 weeks when I was “on.”

Q: What about your diet?
A: 
Yeah. That hasn’t been the best either. It hasn’t been horrible, but I definitely could stand to eat a lot more fruit and vegetables. Though I haven’t had crazy food cravings, I have caved to my sweet tooth far more often than I normally do. Meaning … almost daily. But, I can’t eat a lot at one sitting or I’ll suffer the consequences, so I think that has helped with portion control. That is probably why I haven’t gained excessively. I also tend to have a protein shake with almond milk most mornings, green smoothie style sometimes, water is a must, and I take my pre-natals religiously (I get the free ones from Shoprite and take DHA separately; I take them at night because they made me feel off/a little sick if I took them during the day … plus fish oil tasting/scented burps? Not cute). Oh, and I do have my one cup of instant coffee every morning.

Q: Has your hair grown a ton?! 
A: LOL! So, as a hair blogger who has researched a lot, I knew that pregnancy hormones can cause the hair to “freeze” in the anagen (growth) phase (it’s not the prenatal vitamins ;)). However, I hoped that my hair would continue its normal shedding so that I could be spared post-partum shedding (i.e. the telogen phase resuming en masse 3-6 months delivery). Ummmm … I don’t know how that is going to work out for me. Though my hair has continued to shed, it does look like it’s a lot less than normal. The length hasn’t changed much, but it feels denser in the upper half. So, guess we’ll see.

photo 5-1After 8 weeks of straight hair.
Only washed it twice in that time.
Hence, why it was straight.

Q: Is the nursery ready?
A: No. No it is not. LOL! We know our colors (pale teal and coral, NOT pink) and we have a crib, dresser, rug, bookcase, and paint. But the room and condo still have furniture that needs to go to make room for baby girl (a dresser set, leather couchcoffee table, ottomans, drafting table, and a Lot of size 6 1/2 women’s shoes are up on Craig’s List, if you live in the NJ area and are interested :)!!).

Q: Are you registered?
A: Okay, so I put this one here because I feel like someone is going to ask, not to be self-serving! But, yes, we are registered. It took some doing, but we registered at Buy Buy Baby (with a “personal shopper” in the form of an awesome friend) and Amazon. And let me add this little disclaimer. Weusi had been losing his mind and adding things to both registries late at night, unbeknownst to me. But, I do think it’s cute that he’s so excited and looking forward to our new addition. Oh, and our ground rules? No princess, pink, or glitter. But Batman items are welcome any day in my book ;)! LOL!!

batcaveonesieAlready got gifted a Batman sleeper and Batman onesie with tutu.
Don’t think they’ll be a dirth of Batgear! LOL!!

Q: Are you scared/nervous?
A: We are excited and nervous at the same time. We are preparing as best we can. But we both know that we only know that we don’t know. That being said, we are surrounded by friends and family who support us enormously and know our faith will carry us through. So we ask that you continue to pray for us and that we will bring a happy, healthy baby into this world in a few weeks time. We thank EVERYONE who has shared prayers, a kind word, positive thoughts, encouragement, well-wishes, love … all that. It really means the world to us!

And that’s that! Hope I answered some questions and gave hope to those ladies who may have started to become discouraged due to age and/or relationship status. I’ll leave you with another verse that resonates for me and pray that it will bless you, Isaiah 64:4:

For since the world began, no ear has heard
and no eye has seen a God like you,
who works for those who wait for him!

28 weeks

Lata Gatas!! 

Quick Tip: Wig Caps

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This is just a quick little tip that I’ve been meaning to share for a while, which I just posted on my FB and IG pages last night. As some of you may know, I have been using hairnets to tie down my crown at night when I’ve set my hair wet/damp and need it to dry overnight. The hairnet allows for far more airflow than a satin/silk scarf so that the area that stays wet the longest will dry more quickly, while still keeping the hair flat. I sleep on a satin pillowcase to reduce friction overnight.

Well, a couple of months ago, I picked up a couple mesh wig caps because I was sent a wig to trial. The wig didn’t fit me well, so it never saw the light of day and I ended up gifting it to a friend. But, I found a great use for the wig caps! I now use them instead of a hairnet. The wig caps are a lot easier to put on (tying the hairnet used to be a PAIN)) than the hairnet and smooth from my hair from temples to crown, to nape. I also like to wear them under satin-lined hats to keep my hair smooth!

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Hope that helps!!

wigcap5All dry!

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What “tricks” do you use when you want your hair to dry overnight?

The Next Chapter …

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shelli announcement

 

And the radio silence ends. LOL. So yeah, I’ve been a little preoccupied … and fatigued … because this happened. Just dropping a quick line to let you all know that the Hairscapades family is about to get bigger by one naturalista in early winter 2015 ;).

We are so very thankful to God for we KNOW that we are beyond BLESSED!! We are humbled by and grateful to Him for allowing us to be part of this miracle.

#NEXTCHAPTER

 

 

 

Trimming Natural Hair and Length Retention

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I straightened my hair about two weeks ago (see that post here). Although I “search and destroy” regularly, my ends were desperately in need of a trim as it had been 10 months since my last professional one. So, the Monday morning after straightening my hair, I reached out to my stylist Tameeka (aka Jaded Tresses) to see if she would be in her NJ location that night. I was hoping that she might be able to slip me in between her other appointments.

jadedtresses

Well, it turned out that it was her son’s birthday and she wasn’t working that night. I was totally bummed, but understood. However, later that day, Tameeka texted me that she was going to Sam’s Club in Edison and couldn’t come to NJ in good conscious without trying to hook me up.  So, she asked if I could meet her at the salon later! Y’all … I was on YouTube trying to figure out how to self-trim when I got the text (and, she suspected that is what I would do)!! LOL!! I was ecstatic that I wouldn’t have to take on that task myself!!

So, I met Tameeka at the salon in South Orange, NJ, where she usually works Monday nights. And, in like 5 minutes flat, she cleaned up my ends and made me a very happy lady.

Left: Prior to trim; Right: After trim

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My hair felt sooooo much better after that trim!!  The thing that I love about Tameeka is that she really listens, understands, and respects my length goals and that when I say that all I want is a small trim, that is what she does. I’m sure other stylist would have tried to chop several inches off of my hair due to the thinner perimeter and would claim that my ends are not healthy, but that has NEVER been an issue with Tameeka. She never says, “Oh, you should take more off” or “your ends are unhealthy” or “It would look better like … .” No, she respects that I know MY hair and really evaluates the condition, and not just the aesthetics, of hair to determine what it needs. And, she has never taken off more than an inch when I have requested a trim only. A non-scissor happy stylist? That’s priceless for me y’all.

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TRIMMING NATURAL HAIR

Anywho, since we’re talking about trimming, I figured I’d take this opportunity to discuss my thoughts on a couple of questions that I’ve seen related to trimming natural hair and trimming in general.

1.  Do naturals need a blunt perimeter/even cut/ends?

In my opinion, if you wear your hair in a curly state the majority of the time, no. I don’t trim, cut my hair to keep my ends even. I trim to eliminate damaged ends that are excessively weathered, knotted and/or split. I do this with regular search and destroy (S&D) missions (usually on wash day) and a professional trim every 6-12 months. I trim in this way because, if I don’t, the damaged ends will inevitably cause collateral damage (i.e. more splits, knots, and weathering), because the “bad” hair snags on healthy adjacent strands and causes friction to the cuticle.

Another reason I don’t worry about a totally blunt/even perimeter is because hair tends to grow at different rates. The front and lower back half of my hair grow a lot faster than my crown. So, I accept that my hair does not grow out evenly or into a blunt shape. What I do try to do is keep the longest layer not too much longer than my shorter crown. When I get trims, I ask Tameeka to trim more off of the longest layer and less off of the shorter layers, to gradually thicken my perimeter. Since I wear my hair in updos and twist or braid and curls the vast majority of the time, my irregular curl pattern and length differences are disguised.

2.  Does trimming the hair stunt or encourage growth?

It does neither. Hair grows from the scalp and is dead the minute it “sprouts” from the scalp. Trimming eliminates weathered, thinned, split and knotted ends. It makes the hair appear healthier, neater, and more aesthetically pleasing to some. It helps reduce and prevent the continuous cycle of splits and breakage. However, it doesn’t encourage growth. Some may call it semantics. However, I want to state for the record that what trimming actually does is help prevent continued breakage, which impacts length retention and can make it seem like the hair is not growing. By trimming damaged ends, the hair will be better able to retain the length that grows, which some see as “encouraging growth.”

That being said, if you constantly trim and hair grows at an average of 1/2 an inch a month, you may trim off all or most of the growth, which will make it seem as if your hair isn’t growing. For example, if your hairs grows an average of a 1/2″ a month, and you get a 1″ trim every 3 months, you are only retaining a 1/2″ of growth instead of 1-1/2″. If your ends are healthy and well-maintained, that is totally unnecessary. This is why some may think that trimming stunts growth. But again, it’s not the growth, it’s the retention that is being impacted by trimming.

So, in conclusion, trimming (or not trimming) impacts length retention, not growth, depending on how it is used. And that’s all I have to say about that.

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How do you trim? How often do you trim?

“From the Rough”

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Taraji My girlie GG is an intern on Taraji Henson’s upcoming film, “From the Rough.” The movie is based on the true story of Catana Starks, the first African-American female head coach of an NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Team!! Check out GG’s trending Buzzfeed post to learn more about Taraji and Catana!!

10 Reasons Why Taraji P. Henson And Catana Starks Prove Black Girls Are Magic In “From The Rough”

catanastarks

 

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IN THEATERS APRIL 25TH!!!!

 

♥♥♥♥

Review: Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist

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HE_tealightfullyclean_blowdryprepmistI have been wanting to really straighten my hair, rather than just doing a light blow out, for a while now. I did a “single pass” flat-iron on stretched hair (no blow-out) in June 2013 for a trim and had done a couple of blow-outs since. But, it had been over a year since I really, really straightened my hair. Part of the reason for this was that I wasn’t really feeling the products that I had been using for straightening (see them here). They worked okay, but my hair would feel kind of stiff and hard after using them. I tried the Nubian Heritage heat protectant leave-in and spray too, but everything was pretty “meh.”

Well, a few weeks ago, Wei and I had lunch with a friend and we started talking hair. Her daughter has tons of curly hair and wanted to have it straightened, but our friend didn’t have any idea where to start. So, I suggested the BaByliss Nano Titanium Pro that I purchased  a little over a year ago. Though pricey, I told her I loved it because it has temperature control settings and straightens very well, without frying the hair. So, we ended up heading over to Harmon and picking up one for her (with a 20% off coupon, of course since the thing is $119.00!). Well, while we were there, I told her that she should also use a heat protectant and we started scanning the aisles. I had seen a couple of people use TRESemmé, so we both picked up the TRESemmé Platinium Strength Heat Protectant. But then, I kept looking and decided to see if Herbal Essences (HE) had one as I love that line. Lo and behold, I found the Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist ($4.49) and decided to pick it up too!

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What They Claim:

Light and easy does it with Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist for silky, free-flowing hair. Invigorate your senses with exhilarating tea tree fragrance as you spritz this sheer mist up, down, and all around to help protect against blow drying damage.

Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist:

  • Blow dry prep for silky, free-flowing hair
  • Sheer and lightweight protection against damage
  • With tea tree essences
  • Spritz on for silky hair
  • Intriguing ingredients
  • Incredible fragrances
  • Irresistibly touchable hair; potent pleasure for all your senses

Ingredients: Water/EAU, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Water, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Amodimethicone, PPG-2 Methyl Ether, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-11, Fragrance/Parfum, Polysorbate 80, Disodium EDTA, Aminomethyl Propanol, Citric Acid, Cetrimonium Chloride, Trideceth-12, Methylisothiazolinone.

That same day, I washed my hair and put it into two braids. The next day, I decided to spritz the Blow Dry Prep Mist onto my hair and did a super quick tension blow out to stretch it a little more. Oh. Em. Gee. My hair was soft, silky, smooth, light, and flowy! And, I loved the light, sweet smell of the spray! I was WOWed! The claims were true! Seriously, I couldn’t stop touching my hair! That night, I put it into a braid and curl and, the next day, …

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Can you say, “Pleased as punch?” Well, this past weekend, after following my regular wash day regimen, I decided to bite the bullet and flat-iron my hair for real.

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FLAT-IRONING PROCESS

  • Wrapped clean hair in a cut-up tee-shirt to dry to damp (approx. 30 min).
  • Applied a little Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in to damp hair, concentrating on ends.
  • Spritzed hair with HE Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow0Out Prep Mist and finger combed it through hair.
  • Applied a very small amount of Chi Straight Guard (picked up from TJ Maxx on a whim).
  • Applied a small amount of grapeseed oil to each section.
  • Separated hair into 4 sections and did a tension blow-out with the Conair InifitiPro Tourmaline Ionic Hair Dryer I picked up last fall. I used it to finish drying my hair and stretch it, grasping whole quarter sections of hair, halving the quarters at some points, but never doing sections smaller than that (approx. 30 min.).
  • Flat-ironed hair in small 1″ wide sections at 300°, taking two passes over each section. I didn’t let the flat-iron stop on the hair. I  moved down the length at a slow pace, but the flat-iron was always in motion.
  • Did a third pass over the top layers of hair at 340º, moving the flat-iron more quickly.

It took me about 2 hours in total to blow-out and flat-iron. Here are the results.

 

As you can see, my hair was not bone-straight. There was still a little kink in it and that is okay with me as it lets me know that I didn’t kill my hair with the heat. I also know that bunning my hair will smooth it further. And, as was the case the first time I used the HE Blow-Out Mist, again my hair felt great!! It was airy, silky, soft, and felt product-less! And, at $4.49 a bottle? We have a winner folks!!!

So that’s it, my new heat protectant find! I had to do a review on this product as I wasn’t able to find any when I bought it, because the “Tea-Lightfully Clean” line is new for 2014! Of course, now I’m intrigued to try the shampoo and conditioner … but I’ll try to curb my PJ ways … for now. LOL!!

bantuknotwaves(Heatless waves added with 2 big Bantu knots)

Next time on Hairscapades: A Trim, Straight Hair Maintenance, and Straight Hairstyles ;)

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What heat protectant(s) have you found work the best for your hair?

Henna Gloss: A Quicker, Easier Way to Henna

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twistout314_8 As most of you know, I am a henna head. I have been doing henna treatments since 2010, though I’ve modified how and how often I do them over the years. I started with full strength, full length treatments every 2-4 weeks. But for the last several years, I have been doing full strength on my roots only and a “faux” gloss (i.e. dye released henna mixed into lots of conditioner) on my length. But, the time between my sessions has gotten longer and longer … every 4 weeks, every 6, every 8, now I’m lucky if I do it once every three months!! Well, about a month and a half ago, I was really in need of a henna treatment as my grey roots were out of control. I also love how smooth my hair is after a henna treatment; my hair styles post henna are always so shiny and sleek. But, I had absolutely nooooooooo desire to do a full strength treatment as it usually takes the good part of a day to complete (see My Two Step Henna-Indigo Process for details). Between prepping, washing, detangling, application, marinating, rinsing with water, applying indigo, marinating again, rinsing with loads of conditioner, deep conditioning, marinating one more time rinsing, and styling … yeah, that’s an 8 hour plus process. It just was not happening. But then I thought, “You know what? I’ll do a true henna gloss!!” I figured I could get some of the conditioning benefits of henna and maybe a little color, without all the muss and fuss … and time! hennagloss314

My Henna Gloss Recipe

  • My goat milk conditioning mask *
  • 2 tablespoons of Dulhan BAQ henna powder
  • Mix thoroughly with a fork.
  • Apply mixture to hair and massage into scalp.
  • Twist hair into 4 sections, clip hair up with a jaw clip and don a plastic cap.
  • Apply heat for 30 min-1 hour (I use a hair therapy wrap).
  • Rinse thoroughly.

(*My goat milk conditioner has protein, but it is also very moisturizing because of the honey and oils. I would generally suggest using a thick, moisturizing, protein-free conditioner.)

Applied (no plastic gloves required)

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Minimal mess (no towels or newspaper needed to protect surfaces; just wiped down with a disinfecting wipe).

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As I suspected, the gloss also gave my grey roots got a little color so that they weren’t as stark white.

hennaglossroots After rinsing, I set my hair in 4 twists, which I wore in a twist-out the next day. And, the set held up very well the rest of the week!!

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The one issue I have had with the gloss is related to my base goat milk conditioner. It can be a little chunky and thick, so I have had some residue in my hair after rinsing. Therefore, I have to make sure that my conditioner is as smooth as possible prior to adding the henna and that I rinse very well. In the future, I may try mixing the henna with water first before adding it to the conditioner. This should help thin the consistency and aid blending. However, despite the small rinsing issue, the easy, peasy henna gloss is now in my repertoire when I want some of the conditioning benefits of henna with minimal time and effort!! It may be right up your alley if you have been wanting to try henna, but have been afraid to take the leap or have been looking for some of the benefits without the time commitment!!

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Have you tried henna glosses? How did/do you like them? What conditioner(s) do you use for the best results?