Category Archives: More About Me

Hair Wars

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Unfortunately, the hair war is nothing new :( … but at least this battle was entertaining!!

And the funny thing? None of the “Wannabees” have straight hair! They all look like naturals with stretched styles! LOL!

THIS was my School Daze JAM though!

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My Experience with the OCM

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The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

This is another post that I’ve been meaning to do FOREVER! I’ve been asked a few times about my skin care regimen and given that I recently turned 40, this seemed as good a time as any to finally “talk” about it!!

My Skin Story
First, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m going to tell you that I am completely lazy about my skin. I wash, tone, treat and moisturize in the morning. Other than that, the only thing that I do regularly is use Chapstick or whatever other lip moisturizer I happen to have in my purse. I really don’t wash my face at night because I don’t wear foundation or powder on a daily basis (hence the perpetually shiny T-zone) and I can only be bothered with grooming/filling my eyebrows and applying lip gloss every now and again. However, I know that isn’t an excuse for not washing my face at night, because air pollutants cause “dirty” skin. So, yeah, I know!! I’m sorry, I told you I’m lazy with my skin.

I also really don’t do regular facials. Once in a blue moon I’ll do an exfoliating scrub, which I’ll talk about a little later. Ultimately, I think that diet and sleep play large roles in healthy skin. Given that I generally eat well, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep (well, that is, until I started this blog!), I think that I’ve won half the battle.

I will also say that the best my skin has ever looked was when I was following The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet: A Simple 3-Part Plan to Lose the Fat, the Wrinkles and the Years. This diet focused on good protein, healthy fats, colorful fruits and veggies and complex carbs to foster weight loss while improving the appearance of skin. Seriously y’all, I glowed when I followed the diet that largely relied on eggs, turkey, salmon, blueberries, organic apples, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds and leafy greens. Shoot, I need to dust off my book for the next GOC!!

My Skin Care Regimen
Anyway, so, what do I do now? Well, I’ve been using a prescription facial cleanser and topical spot treatment for a decade. In my late 20s/early 30s, I started experiencing break-outs on my previously clear skin. I think that they were attributable to a lot of stress at work and a hormone imbalance caused by fibroids and a frequent cycle. I got the hormonal imbalance and cycle under control through my “lady doctor” *lol* and went to the dermatologist to address my skin issues. My biggest concern was the sebaceous cyst (you know those hard, puss-filled and painful pimples) that would inevitably develop shortly before my cycle, would never go away unless it was popped and left a scar, regardless of whether I touched it or not. Those jokers were the secondary bane of my existence (the first was the stresser at work) and resulted in a forehead and right cheek covered in scars.

When I visited the dermatologist, he gave me scripts for Clenia (the facial cleanser) and Duac (the topical solution). To those, I added my homemade astringent concoction of witch hazel and effervescent Vitamin C, which really seems to remove the dead skin cells without drying my skin, and Neutrogena Healthy Skin Lotion with SPF as my daily moisturizer. I used those morning and night for a year or so, then just started using them mostly in the morning once my skin was consistently clear.

The OCM Experiment
In the Fall of 2010, I discovered the Oil Cleansing Method via MopTopMaven. I marveled at her gorgoues skin, read her post about ditching conventional, store bought facial cleansers after struggling with acne for years, watched her video tutorial several times and decided I wanted to try the natural route.

via MopTopMaven

Beautiful skin, right?!?! So, although I hadn’t had a break-out in years and had nary a scar, I thought it would be great to use all natural products to care for my skin. In addition, I thought that the OCM would probably help eliminate the fine lines I was starting to see in order to continue the legacy of “Black Don’t Crack.” But, what’s that saying? If it ain’t broke …?

So, off I went to follow MopTopMaven’s regimen of grapeseed/castor/hazelnut oils to cleanse, a green tea astringent to tone and grapeseed oil to moisturize. I also incorporated bentonite clay masks once a week and brown sugar/raw honey scrubs twice a week. I stuck with it for about two months, trying different oils and adjusting the amounts used. I waited it out to see if my skin was just “detoxing” and the oil was just bringing all the impurities to the surface to eventually promote flawless skin. But, despite my best efforts, my skin was revolting!! I was experiencing consistent and constant break-outs, pimples that would never clear and, of course, these were accompanied with new scars. Finally, in December, I had enough and returned to my trusty Clenia and Duac.

Unfortunately, despite the return to my aces and normal regimen, it took months for my skin to regain its equilibrium. I followed the OCM for about 2 1/2 months and it took my skin about 3-4 months to stop breaking out and several more months for the majority of the scars to fade.

I wish that Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty had written this post, Say No to Oil Cleansing, when I first decided to experiment wih OCM!! Although I still might have tried it, I would have been better prepared for the potentially disastrous side effects and aborted more quickly!!

Learnings
What I will say is this. During my experiment and the aftermath, I discovered some natural solutions that worked for me. I conducted some internet research and found that applying aspirin crushed and dissolved in water with a little honey reduced inflammation and helped clear my pimples more quickly when the Clenia and Duac didn’t seem to be working. I also learned that applying a raw honey and lemon mix to my scars for 15-30 minutes a day seemed to help fade them more quickly. Michelle explained the science behind those results in the comments on her “Say No” post: “[The aspirin] works … because [it] has salicylic acid in it, a common ingredient found in many acne products. The honey is great and you probably saw such success because you used raw honey which is pure and absorbs bacteria.”

And, although the oil cleansing part of MopTopMaven’s OCM regimen didn’t work well for me, the bentonite clay mask and brown sugar/raw honey scrub were keepers. Although I don’t do them often, I would like to incorporate a scrub once a week and mask every two weeks. We’ll see if I ever get there.

Conclusions:
Although the OCM didn’t work for me personally, many seem to find great success with it. Ultimately, I am just sharing my experience so that others who are researching it can learn about the good, the bad and the ugly and decide for themselves whether oil cleansing is for them. I also hope that it’ll help others to detect the “early warning signs,” so that they can make an informed decision about whether to continue the process, adjust their mixes and/or get out while the getting is good.

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Have you tried/do you practice the Oil Cleansing Method? What mixes did/do you use? How would you describe your experience (successful, mediocre, abysmal)?

Growing Nape Hair

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Tips and Tricks: Number 19

Until a few months ago, I probably would have never thought about this or believed that it was achievable. I mean, nape hair is the same as the hair at our sideburns or like eyelashes and eyebrows, right? In my mind, this hair just had a very short terminal length and was meant to be shorter. Then, I was perusing the Fotki of Zhara after Jasmine aka CurlsDivine told us about her in a GOC update and I came across this picture. Go ahead, look at it and read the caption … I’ll wait.

Are you kidding me? Waist length nape hair? That’s impossible!! Right?!?! Guess not! I started thinking about my own very wispy, fine, thin (density) and tangle-prone nape hair. Could I possibly grow that hair to waist length as well? So, I started to do a little research to understand what others have done to grow their more delicate nape hair longer. These are some tips that I found or think make sense.

Tips:
Some of these tips are no-brainers and techniques that I already practice. Others probably wouldn’t work for me because of the fine and easily weighed down nature of my nape hair. So, I think it’s probably best to pick and choose the techniques that are likely to work for you and modify as needed:

  • Don’t over-manipulate the hair at the nape with brushing and/or combing.
  • Be very gentle when detangling the nape area (finger detangling is recommended).
  • Wear styles that prevent your nape hair from rubbing your clothing as excessive friction can cause damage and breakage.
  • Avoid placing a lot of tension on the nape hair with overly tight weaves, braids, bun and ponytail styles.
  • Protect the nape at night with a silk/satin scarf and/or bonnet ensuring that this area is fully covered. A satin pillowcase adds yet another level of protection in the event that your headgear is prone to “slippage” like mine.
  • If you use commercial permanent colors, apply dyes to the nape last so that it is processed for less time or don’t treat this area at all.
  • If/when you use heat, reduce the temperature and ensure the hair is adequately treated with a heat protector.
  • Moisturize and seal this hair more if hair it is prone to dryness. This applies to using additional conditioner through the wash session (regular conditioner, deep conditioner) and moisture during styling (leave-in, styler, sealing).
  • Massage the scalp to promote circulation and growth. (I use an essential oil mix that has been proven to stimulate growth. I have tried Dr. Miracle’s Temple and Nape Grow Balm to increase density, not length, in the past. I didn’t notice any appreciable difference. However, I admit, I wasn’t diligent about using it every day either.)
  • Braid the nape hair into a horizontal cornrow and thread the length through the cornrow to protect it.

This last technique is the only one that I hadn’t really thought of or applied previously and I found this great “How to” on it on K is for Kinky: Protecting and Growing Out Your Nape with the Braid Method. Now, this may not work for every style, but it looks like a great way to protect the delicate nape when wearing hair down and out as the braid can easily be hidden. I’m thinking that even a simple braid bunned at the nape would work for those with very fine nape hair like me or those who can’t cornrow. So, don’t be surprised if the next time you see me wearing a WnG or TnC, I’m packing a mini-bun under it as I’m on a mission now to grow my nape hair to waist length too!

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Are you growing out your nape? What techniques have you found to be effective?

The Big Surprise!!

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I got a big surprise this past Saturday. My sisters and aunt threw a surprise birthday party for my 40th! My middle sister, Sheri, called me on my birthday and mentioned that a neighbor was having a get together on Saturday night. She said that I should come down if I wasn’t doing anything and that she would text me the details later. Then, she lured me with the promise of a birthday cake if I showed.

On Friday, she texted me that my niece had two piano recitals on Saturday, so I should plan on meeting her and my brother-in-law at the house at 9 pm. She added that she still had to find a dress and that it was cocktail attire. I told her that I had to check with Wei, but I would let her know. Immediately thereafter, I started bemoaning the fact that it was a dressy event when I expected it to be casual. I also began to really debate whether I felt like going (you see, I’m a total homebody). However, I also started suspecting that a plot was afoot;).

So, on Saturday, it was hair washing day and I decided to do a normal wash with DevaCare No Poo, rather than the Terressentials Mud Wash. I figured it was better to err on the side of predictability rather than experimenting and ending up looking like “who done it and what for.” However, by the time I was done pre-pooing, shampooing, doing a 2 minute Keratin treatment, deep conditioning and styling, I was rushing around trying to get dressed, put on make-up, pack an overnight bag and get out of the door for the hour plus drive.

We left 15 minutes later than I had planned and then had to turn around because I forgot my engagement ring on the sink (it snags in my hair when trying to finger-comb, so I tend to remove it)! I just couldn’t go without it! So, we ran back to the house and Wei grabbed it . As I waited in the car, I texted my sister that we were running 30 minutes late and that we could meet them at her neighbors. She said that they would wait for us. So, as we hit the road again, I expressed my suspicions that we were heading to a surprise birthday party as it didn’t make sense to me that my sister would wait for us when the affair was next door. Wei acknowledged my words, but didn’t really say much of anything.

An hour later we pulled up in my sister’s drive way. Now, my suspicions were that the party would be at the neighbor’s house. So, I was caught off guard when we opened the door to a sea of faces and everyone screamed “Surprise!!!” I was grinning from ear to ear and the grin got progressively wider as I started looking around the room and saw all the people who were there. Now, when I say that my “Spidey senses” were tingling that this was a surprise party, I meant, like, I thought my sisters, brother-in-law, niece, parents, grandmother, aunt and uncle would be there. Y’all, there were 70+ people at the house!! My best friends from work, college and high school were there. Many close friends that I’ve made over the years were there. Shoot, Miche’al, who I met through this very blog was there!! And, an assortment of aunts, uncles and family friends all greeted me with hugs and smiles. I was so surprised as many had travelled from more than an hour away to get there.

I was just stunned and so, so happy! I couldn’t believe that they had put this all together for me. And, my sisters and aunt didn’t half-step! There was a DJ, a bar, servers and food galore! It was just so overwhelming you guys. I can’t even tell you how moved I was by it all. And then, what really put it over the edge was all the cards and gifts that I didn’t really get a chance to see until the following morning. It really feels like too much. Everyone’s presence alone was the biggest gift that I could ever ask for. I seriously keep tearing up thinking how generous everyone was and how blessed I am to be surrounded by so much love. If any of you are reading this, I love you and I thank you!

Okay, I’ve rambled long enough! I really didn’t plan for this post to be so long! But, if you know me … well, you know that’s me. LOL!! So, now, I’m done and here are a few pictures of the festivities!! (Oh, and since this is a hair blog, note that my hair was still totally wet when we arrived!! Yeah, the “Guest of Honor” was hugging and kissing everyone with drowned rat hair!! Ugh!! LOL!! I really need to start planning these things better! No more washing my hair on the day of an event!)

My besties from work

Is this a birthday party or a natural hair meet-up:)? *lol*

Mi familia

The promised cake ;).

And I’ll leave you with this song that has become “our” song!

This felt like the dress rehearsal;)! *lol*

The Premier of Avatar: The Legend of Korra

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To all of my Avatar fans, want to see the 2 part premier of Avatar: The Legend of Korra three weeks before it airs on TV?!?!? Then check it out on KorraNation.com here!!! I don’t know how long we’ll be able to watch this, so I say, watch it today or you may have to wait until April 14th!!

Now, if only Wei would wake up so that I can watch it too!! He has 10 minutes to finish his nap or I’m watching it alone!! I know, it’s wrong … but, what can I say? It’s AVATAR!!! I’VE BEEN WAITING 4 YEARS FOR THIS!!!

UPDATED TO ADD: Without giving too much away, just wanted to tell you all that I watched the first two episodes and my initial thoughts are that it has a different feel and flow than the original. The characters feel undeveloped as of yet and I think that was definitely a strength of the original series. ATLA seemed to have an innate ability to quickly develop characters that you loved within one episode. I mean, c’mon, remember the Cabbage Man?!?! LOL! Also, the music in some places feels more forced and “out front” than the original. However, I’m hoping that the show with “settle” in a few episodes and that it’ll feel more natural once we get to know the characters a little better. That being said, my butt will be firmly glued to my seat for this one. I don’t expect it to surpass or even match ATLA, but I do expect a great story. And, I can’t wait to see the flashbacks that I know are coming that will reveal some of the missing puzzle pieces of ATLA … such as, how did Zuko reunite with his mother? Why did Uncle go into the Spirit world? Will Koh reappear and keep his promise to Aang, “We’ll meet again?” I have my suspicions and theories, but won’t ruin it for you;).

Epics Promo

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Skills:

Seriously, I am so proud of my friends!! They are really building something of their own. Instead of waiting for someone else to finally write the stories that they want to read, the stories that made them love comics in the first place, but seem to have been lost to the void of time … they are writing and drawing them themselves. Really, I can’t wait to see what they do next :)!!

Originally posted on epicsanthology:

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Back to the Bun

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Just a quick post to say that I’ve been wearing a bun since Tuesday. I really hope to do something more creative this weekend. I love that I can throw a bun up pretty easily anymore. The hair fork is the only tool that I’ve been using and I’ve been applying the Botticelli Botanicals Flax Gelee to smooth my edges. It it working very well for that too. These pic are from Monday night though, when I was just bunning for bed and hadn’t used anything to control/smooth my edges.

Although I love the ease of a bun, I’m getting bored with it. I just haven’t had the time or energy to do anything that takes any time or thought! This is especially true now that I’m exercising again. On that note, Day 5 of PSD 1.2 is done and over. I’ve only been doing about 25-30 minutes a day due to long work days. But, the goal is 20 for 28 days straight and doing a lot more every day would definitely result in a #FAIL. So, I’m good with doing 25-30, though I had hoped to do a 40 minute kettlebell routine yesterday. Maybe Friday. Now, I just need to get my eating habits really on track since I’ve had my birthday buttercream;)! But, why did one of my co-workers buy me a bag of sweet potato chips and a huge bag of Laffy Taffy’s with plenty of banana (why don’t they make banana only bags and why does the one candy I really like have to have fat?!?)?!?! We had talked about our love of both months ago and she remembered for my birthday!! LOL!!

Well, that’s it for now.

Lata Gatas!

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What do you do when you get in a styling rut and are low on time and energy? 

The Sci-Five Gets Archiefied!!

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Three of the four members of the Sc-Five ;).

That’s me!!! That’s really me!! LOL!! In case you don’t know, one of my good buddies, Fernando Ruiz, has been an Archie artist/penciller/writer for 15+ years. Our other friend, Fabio (on the far right), inked for Archie for a little while as well. The guy on my right is Anthony, the fourth member of the Sci-Five. For some reason unbeknownst to me, Fernando didn’t include himself in the panel, although he makes regular “cameo” appearances in Archie. We also often find ourselves at a local diner which has become the Sci-Five’s “haunt.” (You can see us all in the flesh here, though not at our diner). Anywho, just felt like sharing because I thought it was kind of cool :). Gotta see if this is actually in an issue so that I can pick up a few copies;)!!

Botticelli Botanicals Flax Gelee

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Yesterday, I told you guys that I used a new styler over my modified kimmaytube leave-in after doing a ZSC treatment on Saturday (see post here). Well, here it is, the *mystery* styler!! Botticelli Botanicals Flex Gelee!! See, I didn’t make you wait too long :)!!

If you remember, a few weeks ago I did a post about Flaxseed Gel (FSG) and shared a link to the Etsy shop, Botticelli Botanicals. At the time, I’d only read about Botticelli Botanicals via the forums on NaturallyCurly.com. After digging into the recesses of my memory to locate the thread in the forum so that I could include links in the post, I decided to reach out to the owner. I sent her a message about the impending post and asked if she had any interest in sponsoring a giveaway on Hairscapades.

I have to share portions of her response, because it was very cool and sweet:

Hello Shelli!

Wow, thanks so much for your interest in my products, and for the linking to my shop! I found the post already, it looks great! Let me start by saying that normally I decline doing giveaways on blogs, because either something doesn’t feel quite right, or it’s not my target market, and it seems like the blogger is just looking for free stuff. But yours feels right to me.

So tell me, what kind of thing did you have in mind? A Foolproof Formula Gelee or Mudd, maybe? I know the blog entry is about the FSG specifically, but it would be nearly blasphemous of me to omit the benefits of the okra in the Mudd for thirsting curls. I am indeed familiar with CurlyNikki, I remember when she was just a poster on the NC.com forums like me! Oh the good old days, it’s funny the places a true passion can take you, isn’t it?!

I also have to say that I love the fact that your fiancee writes for your blog as well – it’s so refreshing to see male perspectives on a hair blog, which is so often sequestered in the female population. I never understood that – I mean, guys have hair, too, and I see SO many guys with unruly frizz that could be awesome, healthy curls if they just half tried! But alas, I’ll get down from my soap box, I just think it’s neat that he interjects some testosterone into such an estrogen-soaked market.

Thanks so much for thinking of me, Shelli!

Erin

I was soooo psyched by Erin’s warm response, genuine interest in the site and enthusiasm!! I wrote her back immediately and we started to discuss what to giveaway and the entry guidelines. However, before announcing the giveaway, Erin insisted on sending me a sample of one of her products to try first. She really wanted to send the Mudd, because of its moisturizing properties. But, after my FSG article was published on CurlyNikki, she was all out of it!! LOL!! So, since she wanted to get something in the mail to me, she sent the Flax Gelee instead.

Customized Flax Gelee:
First, let me explain the selection process. When Erin decided on the Gelee, she asked me about my hair goals, what ingredients I know my hair likes and dislikes and what types of scents I prefer. This information would allow her to customize a blend for me! I think this is very smart as we all know many products aren’t one size fits all. So, this enables one to “build” a gelee or mudd to one’s own specifications. However, Botticelli Botanicals also offers a standard Foolproof Formula with agave and grapeseed oil and a scent of your choice.

Anyway, I told Erin that I like a gel that provides hold and moisture, that I avoid coconut oil in stylers and love fruity smells, especially berries. Other than that, I was relying on her expertise! Now, I don’t know what “extras” Erin added to the base formula of spring water and organic flaxseed extract. But the scent?!?!  She chose Blackberry Sage and, let me tell you, it is HEAVENLY!!

Application/Styling Process:
So, after doing a ZSC treatment followed by a DC on Sunday, I blotted my hair with a Hair Cloth until it was damp. I allowed it to air dry for a few minutes until it was just very barely damp. Then, I applied my modified Kimmaytube leave-in (2 tbsp KCKT, 2 tbsp Aloe Vera Juice – Whole Leaf, 1 tsp EVOO). I finger-combed/raked the leave-in through my hair in four sections. Next, I started applying the Flax Gelee in the same manner, finger-combing/raking it through my hair one section at a time. Now, the thing about FSG is that it is very viscous. Remember “Slime” from back in the day?

Okay, no!!! It’s not that bad!! LOL!! But it does have that type of viscosity, just not so thick!! Anyway, I applied about two quarter-sized squirts of gel for each section. This was enough to ensure coverage and hold, but light-handed enough to achieve maximum volume with definition. And that was it!

Well, that was it until it dried (mostly – there was a section in the crown that was still damp when I did this last step). After that, I used a little JBCO/EVOO to “fluff.” I won’t even say that I “scrunched out the crunch,” because my hair wasn’t hard. It was pretty soft, despite using a gel. However, it was more piecey than I like. This is to be expected when using a gel as firm hold helps ensure that the curls have “set.” So, my last step was smoothing and sealing with a little oil. This simply involved spreading a pea-size drop of oil on my palms and smoothing my hair back as if I was putting it in a ponytail. I then repeated with a little more oil, focusing on the ends the second time. And then, that REALLY was it:)!

I was pretty pleased with the result (ya think? ;)! So, on Sunday night, I loosely bunned my hair with a hair fork and donned my big, old lady bonnet. After showering on Monday morning, I released the bun and wore my hair down for the day. This is a shot I took with my iPhone at the end of the work day.

There was no flash and it’s not the best quality photo, but you get the idea. As my goal is always volume, I didn’t apply a lot of gel and I was loving how big my hair got!! But, I think I’ll experiment with using a little more next time to see if I can get more curl definition without sacrificing hugeness. In fact, I’ll probably be seeing how the Flax Gelee fares, sans a leave-in, after using the Terressentials Mud Wash!! Yup, my order arrived yesterday!!

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So, want to know more about that Botticelli Botanicals Giveaway? Then stay tuned for the announcement later this week!

“Because every day should be a good hair day.”