Category Archives: My Regimen

A little about where I’ve been and where I am now.

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!!

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

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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.

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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?

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?

Breaking One of the Detangling Commandments

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Okay, so I may be (figuratively) hung, drawn, and quartered for this one. Alright … alright … I’m being dramatic. But … I’m about to suggest something that will probably go counter to a “natural hair” great commandment that most have probably read over and over again.

DETANGLE FROM TIPS TO ROOTS ROOTS TO TIPS.

See, what had happened was … I’ve been detangling from TIPS to ROOTS for forever. Aaaaaaand, it has served me well for the most part. But, the last few wash days, I started breaking this rule. Let me premise this by saying that I primarily use my fingers and only pull out the Ouidad Double Detangler once my hair is pretty thoroughly detangled. However, my detangling sessions were becoming more tedious and lengthy due to the length of my hair. I would slather on tons of conditioner, but starting from the tips resulted in me having to work the shed strands in each section down the length of my hair over and over … AND OVER again.

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I didn’t make this. LOL!)

I began to realize that the worst matting was occurring at the roots of my hair and that if I loosened the tangles and shed hair there first, it was taking me less time to detangle, and less time = less manipulation. The trick of it is that I don’t finger detangle DOWN the length of my hair first. I detangle by pulling the strands APART. I’ve seen this referred to as “wish-boning” since you are pulling the strands apart like you would a wishbone (but more gently, of course). This provides space in the hair to allow shed/broken strands to glide out and it also helps loosens knots rather than tightening them. So, I work the strands apart at the roots, THEN I pull loose hair out of and/or down my hair.

Now, I definitely wouldn’t suggest trying the roots to tips approach with a comb as you may end up with more hair in it than on your head.  But, if you finger detangle exclusively or prior to using a tool, than you may find that the roots to tip approach hastens the end of your detangling sessions. And, if you so desire, you can use a comb or brush from tips to roots to polish off the job.

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Do you detangle from tips to roots or roots to tips? What techniques have eased your detangling sessions? 

My Winter Regimen (2013-2014)

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Regimen update time!! This is essentially the regimen that I’ve been following all fall/winter and I have no plans to make any changes for spring/summer.

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WINTER/SPRING 2014 REGIMEN

Weekly to Bi-weekly:

  • Option: Pre-poo with Aubrey GPB, Honeysuckle Rose and/or Vatika Oil. (I used to pre-poo wash day, but haven’t been doing it as much as my hair has been doing well. So, as long as my hair doesn’t feel excessively dry, I have been cutting it out to save time.)
  • Shampoo hair in twists with DevaCare No Poo or Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship shampoo diluted in water (approx 2 oz. shampoo to 5-6 oz. water). Rinse.
  • Apply Joico K-Pak Revitaluxe Restorative Treatment (or Sally GVP Joico K-Pak), gently finger comb through hair (protein) and rinse after 10-15 minutes.
  • Apply Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH) to thoroughly finger detangle hair and finish detangling with Ouidad Double Detangler. Rinse.
  • Deep condition with my awesome DIY goat milk hair mask (60 minutes with Hair Therapy Wrap).
  • Use “Cool and Seal” DC technique to rinse DC with diluted HE HH.
  • Blot hair damp with an old t-shirt or Curl Cloth.
  • Apply styling products (these can vary, but generally):
    • Leave-in: Kinky Curly Knot Today
    • Cream styler: Curl Prep Sweet Butta
    • Hold: Aloe Vera Gel (cosmetic grade) *prior to applying gel, gently detangle hair with shampoo brush from tip to roots.
    • Seal: JBCO/EVOO mix.
  • Style:
    • Part hair into 12-14 sections and braid roots, twist length and set ends on small grey perm rods; or
    • Place hair into two pigtail braids and wear in a crown braid for work; or
    • NEW: Place hair into 4 twists, stretch twists across head and dry (tutorial coming soon!).
  • Air dry (experimented with the bonnet dryer on the “NEW” style and it worked well, so may be doing that more often).
  • Wear out styles for 2-4 days.
  • Protective/low manipulation style as needed once braid-out becomes too frizzy (buns, updos, side braid, etc.).
  • Nightly: Loosely French twist hair and secure against crown with Goody Comfort Flex barrette, leaving curled ends out at top of head (click here for “How To” video). Wrap edges in satin scarf /bonnet for bed; Sleep on satin pillowcase.
  • Apply JBCO/EVOO mix or WGHO to scalp and hair as needed, usually 1-2 times during the week. I’ve also started to use Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter again (an old holy grail product of mine) to smooth my edges and moisturize the length of my hair prior to sealing.

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Deducting the time spent “marinating” a pre-poo and DC, the actual work time for my wash day is probably about 2-3 hours to wash, condition and style. I spend very little time on my hair during the week. All the heavy lifting is done on either Saturday or Sunday, but usually Sunday after hot yoga.

Every 8 Weeks (or so):

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And that’s my regimen! I am really loving the products that I am using and think they are working very well. My shedding and breakage have been significantly reduced since incorporating goat milk into my regimen and reincorporating Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in. So, my PJ ways have been seriously curtailed and I am pleased and content with the state and health of my hair. Though, I really need to schedule a trim since I haven’t had one since last June!!

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Have you found a regimen/products which is/are working well for you?

(Hair) Lessons Learned 2013

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A couple of weeks ago, Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty did this post about what she discovered about her natural hair in 2013. I had been thinking about doing something similar and her post was the incentive I needed to write down my (hair) lessons learned.

As she said, these are things I learned about MY hair and may not apply to others. But, they are things that I found helped improve my hair and will hopefully allow it to get better in 2014.

So, here is what I learned in 2013.

  1. Inadequate consumption of water and dehydration is not only bad for the body/skin, but it can cause excessive hair breakage and shedding too. I had a bout of bad breakage last winter all over my head and I believe it was very much related to my unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, excess caffeine, and insufficient water consumption. My hair is recovering and regrowing, but the breakage was bad, creating a fuzzy halo of “flyaway” hair over my entire head. So, I try to make certain I get at least 48 ounces of water a day to ensure that I’m hydrated from the inside out. (Note: I’ll be doing a post on this topic soon!)
  2. My hair does better with wet detangling only. I lose a lot less hair and am able to detangle just fine without thoroughly finger detangling during a dry pre-poo. When I pre-poo now, I just smooth and smush the oil/conditioner down my hair with some minimal separation to make sure I coat each section.
  3. Using a comb and/or shampoo brush after finger detangling results in a less stressful detangling sessions the following wash day. It also makes for smoother, more defined braid/twist-out sets. So, I reincorporated these tools into my regimen.
  4. My hair LOVES goat milk in styling products and deep conditioner!!! My hair has been rejuvenated by it, especially my ends, which were starting to feel pretty rough. My stubborn crown has softened and become more supple and stronger!! My shedding and breakage have been drastically reduced. And finally, the straighter “tail” of my nape that used to hang now holds a curl when I set it on perm rods!! The goat milk DC has replaced Aubrey GPB as my light protein conditioner of choice (note: I also use Joico K-Pak conditioner on wash day, which also provides light protein).
  5. Cosmetic grade aloe vera gel works great for setting my hair in twist/braid outs and for smoothing/setting my edges.  It provides flexible hold and softness without product build-up. (I think this gel began to work well for me because my hair started behaving so well once I incorporated goat milk products into my regimen).
  6. The braid n’ twist n’ curl is my new go to style because the braids keep my roots smooth, but the twists gives me the fullness I desire. As the braid at the roots result in three sections once the set is released, I don’t need to separate my hair any futher to get fullness, which also means less manipulation and frizz. Also, the BnTnC dries more quickly than a braid out.

And that’s what I learned about my natural hair in 2013. Here’s to better hair in 2014! Onward and upward my friends!!

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What did you learn about your hair’s likes and dislikes in 2013?

Goat Milk Conditioner Video Demo

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A little over month or so ago, I shared a DIY Goat Milk Conditioning Hair Mask Recipe. As I mentioned then, and I’ll reaffirm now, I LOVE this stuff!! My hair has been amazing since I started using it and I’m about to apply a batch that I mixed up this past Sunday as soon as I post this!!

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Anywho, I know that some people are more visual and want to SEE things demonstrated. But, this is the thing. I struggle with videos and they take me hour upon hour to tape, edit, and figure out how to upload properly. So, I haven’t done any “real” ones in FOREVER!! But, I was very pleased to see that Sawah of DiscoveringNatural tried my goat milk recipe and filmed it!! So, I’m sharing her video for those interested in seeing the recipe “in action.” And, I love that she has a different texture than me and can demonstrate its effectiveness on tighter coils!! Thanks Sawah!!

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(p.s. I have since added an eye dropper full each of Nettle Leaf and Marshmallow Root extracts to my recipe. I got them for something else that I never made, because both herbs are touted to have benefits for hair. Can’t say for certain that they improved the efficacy of the conditioner. But again, my hair has been behaving WONDERFULLY since I started using this and my shedding/hair loss has been dramatically decreased.)

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Have you tried a goat milk hair conditioner? If so, how would you describe your hair texture and what were your results?