Category Archives: My Staples

I’ve Become A Straight Hair Natural (without Heat Damage!!)



And I like it!! That’s right, I said it. I’ve been natural for 15 years, big chopped twice, and have nothing to prove. I love my natural curls. However, right now, I love the convenience and ease of straight hair a lot more! And, sometimes, that’s really all there is to it.

Anywho, with the arrival of the cooler and dryer air of autumn, it seemed timely for a straight hair post. So I’m about to share why I began straightening my hair regularly and how I have managed to do so for the majority of the last year without suffering heat damage (the latter of which always seems to be the mythical unicorn of the natural world ;)).


Anywho, I started straightening my hair around the 5th month of my pregnancy last year. When I realized that I could get at least 4 weeks out of straightened hair (sometimes 6), it was a no brainer given my increasing ungainliness and fatigue. When I had Wyntr in January, it again made sense as taking care of a newborn is two full-time jobs and I needed to give up my part-time (i.e. my hair on wash day). Then, as I was coming up on 3 months post-partum, I decided to straighten as a preemptive move to combat the threat of post-partum shedding. I figured that it would allow me to comb my hair between wash days in order to get rid of excessive shedding, making detangling easier when I did get around to washing it.

That’s the why. Following is the how. But first, two caveats. Number one: I do not care about having perfect hair 24/7. I don’t aim for bone straight hair and I live in a bun 99% of the time (Hello!! 8 month old!!). So, if you are looking for advice on keeping your natural hair straight and “laid” without heat damage … ummm … this may not be for you. Number two: I don’t have scalp issues, so I can easily go 4 weeks between wash days without excessive scalp build up/flakes.



Following are the steps I take and my products of choice. I don’t straighten my hair any more often than once every four weeks and if I can stretch it longer, I do.


  • Pre-poo to moisturize (virgin coconut oil mixed with Aubrey Organics GPB and/or Honeysuckle Rose)
  • Clarify to start with a clean base (Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo)
  • Protein treat to strengthen (Sally’s GVP Joico K-Pak)
  • Deep Condition to moisturize (Sally’s GVP Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm)
  • Apply a leave-in* conditioner (small amount of Kinky Curly Knot Today mixed with aloe vera juice)
  • Apply a heat Protectant* (Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Blow Dry Prep Mist)

*Note: I’ve found that it’s very important to use a leave-in and heat protectant that are light and don’t leave my hair tacky. This allows my hair to glide/flow once straighten and reduces the amount of lint and dust that it attracts.



  • Choose one or the other (this controls the amount of heat used on the hair):
    • Blow-out slightly damp hair OR
    • Air dry hair stretched (in 2-4 braids) and flat-iron (usually dry one day and flat-iron the next.
  • If blowing-out:
    • Use a quality tool (Conair Infiniti Pro 3 in 1 Styler with double comb attachment)
  • If flat-ironing:
    • Use a quality tool with temperature control (BaByliss Nano Titanium Pro)
    • Use lower temperatures (280-320º max)
    • Take small 1″ sections
    • Gently comb section well using a medium to fine tooth comb
    • Two to three passes of the flat-iron on each section max
  • Seal/Shine (Shea Moisture Raw Shea Reconstructor Elixir and/or Sally’s GVP Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum)


  • Never re-apply heat between washes (that’s a surefire way to cause heat damage).
  • Use heat free styling techniques between wash days: braids, buns, rollersets, curlformers, flexirods, pin curls, etc.
  • Bun, braid, pineapple, or pin-curl hair at night.
  • Use a satin bonnet or scarf and sleep on a satin pillowcase.
  • Use an edge control paste/gel (Ampro Protein Gel mixed with moisturizer – IKR??? Who knew?!; Curls Blueberry Bliss)
  • Use a terry-lined shower cap.
  • Forget the umbrella for the rain, use a raincoat with drawstring hood.
  • Apply a light moisturizer that doesn’t cause reversion, as needed (Wonder Curl Get Slick Hair Smoothie; Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter).**
  • Apply a light oil as needed to seal moisture/add shine (Shea Moisture Raw Shea Reconstructor Elixir and/or Sally’s GVP Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum).**
  • Oil scalp, as needed (Wild Growth Hair Oil).*
  • Exercise with hair bunned and use an open-ended wig cap under a sweatband. (I’ll admit, I haven’t worked out with any type of consistency since the baby and my work-outs have been moderate in intensity. But, thus far, this has worked for me.)

**Note: Again, it is important to use a light moisturizer and oil for maintenance to avoid tacky hair that attracts lint and dust. By reducing the amount of dirt the hair attracts, straight hair can be maintained for longer.

Finally, I do take a break between straight cycles sometimes with a stretched braid-out, twist-out, and even a WnG once! I also henna or henna gloss when I can. And those are my tips! Hope they help!

(p.s. My hair is the longest that it’s ever been and the fullest it’s been in a long time following this regimen.) 



Are you a straight-hair natural? What are your tips of the trade?








Exercise & Natural Hair: Wig Cap for the Win Again



This is just a quick little tip that I’ve been meaning to share for a while. A while back, I shared this post to tell you all how I started using wig caps to control my crown when air drying braid/twist sets overnight.  The wig cap is a lot easier to use than a hairnet and smooths my hair from temples, to crown, to nape.


Well, shortly thereafter, I realized that the wig cap was also great for helping preserve my hair while working out. I started using the wig cap last year while wearing my hair in two braids, but then I started using it with straightened hair too. The wig cap keeps my braided or bunned hair flat while allowing my head to breathe and providing an opening for my braids/bun, wherever they are placed. I use an oldie but goodie Dri-Sweat Edge Headband over my edges to absorb/whisk the sweat from my face. Once I’m done working out, I remove the sweatband and wig cap, apply an edge control product/gel, if necessary, and tie my hair down with a satin scarf while I shower, get dressed, and drive to work. The collage below is after two days (bottom left) and two weeks (bottom right) of daily exercise and prior to re-applying an edge control product. 


Not bad, right??


How do you preserve your hair when you exercise?

My Winter Regimen (2013-2014)



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.



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.




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):


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!!



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

Goat Milk Conditioner Video Demo



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!!


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!!

via DiscoveringNatural

(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.)


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

Goat Milk Conditioning Hair Mask



Okay. I admit it. I’ve been holding out on you guys. But, in my defense, I did it FOR you!!! You see … what had happened was …

About a year ago, my girl Dottie of Threadmill (you know, the one who makes satin-lined, crocheted hats for us natural girls … and it IS that time of year) messages me on Facebook:

I have had a hair epiphany! Do you want to hear about it? I’ve been cowashing lately, and added one moisturizing ingredient to it, and WOWEE, my hair is amazing! It was an experiment that actually worked. My hair is the “heat”! I’ll be doing this at least twice a week! (I’m so excited about my new hair discovery… not sure if it’s an approved thing for natural hair…. but it is surely the thing for mine!!!!)
Maybe someone else thought of it before me, but for me, it’s my own discovery…. And if it is truly a new thing, I want you to have it! (if it’s good for you)
Goats milk lotion… made by an etsy friend. I added 1 part of my favorite no-sulfate conditioner with 1 part of the goats milk lotion, and about 4 parts water, shake it up! Added liberally, washed through my hair, and seriously Shelli, this is the best my hair has EVER looked without styling agents, or heat agents!
My hair is soft, yet has definition, and the curls aren’t frizzy but, they’re refined.
I’m literally pingy with my discovery!

Needless to say, I was intrigued. So, started to do a little research! Check out some of what I discovered:

via Black Hair 101

Goat Milk Hair Benefits:

  • Make hair soft and manageable.
  • Good for dry scalp and especially for dandruff conditions.
  • Softens hair and smoothes out nicks or scratches across the hair strand.
  • Makes scalp healthier and less prone to dryness.
  • When added to other moisture rich ingredients can make hair moisturized and pliable and extremely healthy.

Goat milk can be added to shampoos, conditioners or used with other nutritious ingredients as a deep conditioner or with tea as a rinse or added to your shea, mango or cocoa butter preparations for hair and skin.

Now, here is where it gets really interesting. Dottie’s friend had to take a hiatus from making her goat’s milk conditioner, so I wasn’t able to get my hands on any. But, in a serendipitous turn of events, a friend of mine at work tells me that her daughter, who is a farmer, just bought nursing goats and she would give me some milk once the baby goats were weaned. Fast forward to a year later (lol) and I finally got 3 freezer bags full of some authentic, straight-off-the-farm, unadulterated goat’s milk! (But, in the interim, I had started using Curl Prep Sweet Buttah. L. O. V. E. Guess what the fourth ingredient is? Yeah. Goat milk.)

So, back in late September or thereabouts, the experimenting commenced. After the first use, I didn’t notice anything particularly amazing. But, on the following wash day, I noticed less shedding and breakage. The same thing occurred after the second use … and the third. By the fourth use, my hair seemed a bit shinier and definitely stronger, with drastically decreased shedding (or breakage as the case may have been).

And now, we get to why it has taken me so long to tell you about the awesome results I have been getting from goat milk conditioner. You see … this stuff is really watery. And kinda sticky. So, my first three treatments with it were NOT cute, though they were effective.

Experiment #1: Goat’s Milk solo – drippy, somewhat sticky, mess.

Experiment #2: Goat’s Milk mixed with full fat yogurt – thicker, but still a bit drippy AND it left white, flaky residue, even after two rinses.

Experiment #3: Goat’s Milk mixed with Sally’s GVP Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm and honey – improved consistency, no residue, but difficult to mix and still not quite right.

So, finally, I did a little research about cosmetic thickening agents and decided to purchase some guar gum from Amazon. I used it to make a goat’s milk conditioning mask this past weekend and it was LOVER-LY!! After using the treatment as my deep conditioner, I did my new go-to style, the Aloe Vera Gel Braid n’ Twist n’ Curl (BnTnC – I think that I just coined a new natural hair acronym!! LOL!) and had the most AMAZE-A-BALLS results ever on take down the following afternoon!

BnTnC(This was in prep for my wedding day hairstyle trial!! It turned out great!)

So, here’s my easy, peasy, recipe:



  • 1/4 c. goat’s milk (2 ice cubes thawed*)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tsp Vatika Oil (Virgin Coconut Oil can also be used)
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum (not only thickens mix, provides AMAZING slip!)


  1. Mix together goat’s milk, honey, EVOO, and Vatika Oil (I used a spoon, but a mixer or whisk could also be used).
  2. Slowly sprinkle guar gum into the mix while constantly stirring (“Slowly” is the operative word. If you dump the guar gum into the mix, you will get “cottage cheese” lumps, which can be difficult to rinse out of your hair.).
  3. Allow mixture to “hydrate” for 15-30 minutes (this is when it thickens).
  4. Pour conditioner into an applicator bottle (optional).
  5. Go for yours (massage into scalp and smooth through hair)!!


  • Freeze milk into ice cubes to extend shelf-life and create convenient, “serving size” amounts that can be thawed quickly when ready to use.
  • If you don’t have your own personal “farm fresh” supplier ;), you can use store bought goat’s milk, including the powdered kind.
  • Add essential oils and/or herbal extracts that are beneficial for hair. I have been adding an eye dropper full of nettle leaf and marshmallow extract, both touted to have benefits for scalp heath and hair growth!
  • Not a mixtress, but still want to try this? Add goat milk to your regular/deep conditioner and let it do what it do ;)!
  • This recipe has no preservatives, so refrigerate any leftovers and use within a week. If you opt to add a preservative, still store the product in your refrigerator, not the bathroom, to extend shelf life.

goatsmilkconditioner2You can see the conditioner like consistency given by the guar gum.

I applied the goat’s milk mask after washing, conditioning, and detangling my hair. I left it on for about an hour with my thermal heat turban, cooled and sealed, and then damp styled. The next day …


So yeah … goat’s milk is, like, my newest holy grail.


Have you ever used goat’s milk as a hair treatment? How do/did you use it? What benefits, if any, did you see from using it?

My Summer/Fall 2013 Regimen


blowout7Braid/twist-out on a blow-out

Welp. I’m at home with conjunctivitis. My eye started acting up this morning. I went to work hoping it would clear up … it didn’t. So, I went to a “One Minute Clinic” at CVS (who knew?!) and they confirmed it. My first ever case of pink eye! Ughh! Anywho, it’s highly contagious until you’ve used the eye drops for 24 hours, so I took the rest of the day off from work.

Since I’m stuck here with something better to do … no, that’s not a typo, I should be folding clothes and picking up around the house … I decided that it’s about time that I post an updated regimen!! I mean, really, there is nothing here that you haven’t read before if you have been following. But, I think it’s good to be able to point to my current regimen post if someone asks.

This is essentially the regimen that I’ve been following all summer and plan to follow this fall and probably winter too.



  • Pre-poo and lightly finger detangle dry hair with Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose mixed with Vatika Oil (moisture).
  • While detangling, trim any visible/tangible split ends and SSKs.
  • Place hair in 6 twists.
  • Apply JBCO/EVOO mix or Wild Growth Hair Oil (WGHO) original formula to scalp and massage for a minute or so.
  • Don plastic cap and apply heat using Hair Therapy Wrap for a minimum of 30 minutes. 
  • Shampoo hair in twists with DevaCare No Poo diluted in water (approx 2 oz. shampoo to 5-6 oz. water).
  • Apply Joico K-Pak Revitaluxe Restorative Treatment, 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.
  • Deep condition with Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm (30-60 minutes with Hair Therapy Wrap).
  • Use “Cool and Seal” DC technique to rinse DC with diluted HE HH.
  • 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)
    • Seal: JBCO/EVOO mix or other oil.
  • Section hair into 12-14 braids or twists to stretch hair and set ends on small grey perm rods (lately I’ve been braiding the roots to keep them flat and tight and then twisting the length for volume).


  • Air dry.
  • Wear hair out days 2-4 days, maybe re-braiding once.
  • 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.
  • Massage scalp with WGHO as needed, usually 1-2 times during the week.

Deducting the time spent “marinating” with my pre-poo and DC, the actual work time for my wash day is probably about 3 hours: 1 hour pre-pooing/detangling and 2 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. I really have to stick with washing my hair weekly, because when I try to stretch it to two weeks, it’s usually a nightmare. Although my scalp doesn’t itch from working out/sweating daily (and I DO sweat in my head), my hair does get very matted and tangled. So, my detangling sessions are rougher and I think I lose more hair when I wait that long. So, weekly it is.


And this fall/winter, I might experiment a little stretching my hair with blow-outs or flat ironing (one or the other at a wash session; not both). We’ll see. I’m not sure how often I would feel comfortable doing that … maybe once a month? I’ll play it by ear. But, I did it this weekend and was pleased with the results (post on that process coming soon)!


Every 4-8 Weeks:

  • Two step henna/indigo (roots only full strength application/gloss on length).
  • Clarify, with diluted Ion Curl Solutions Shampoo (though this may be replaced with Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship, which I tried for the first time this weekend. I liked it!).

And that’s that! Slowly working my way towards hip length and hoping this regimen will help get me there!



What tweaks (if any) are you making to your regimen and styles for fall/winter?

Coconut Milk Pre-Poo



A couple of weeks ago, I was fudging around on YouTube and came across this two part series on using coconut milk as a hair treatment. I was immediately intrigued for two reasons. First, I love me some coconut oil! DON’T NOBODY better say nothin’ bad about COCONUT OIL. ‘Cuz that’s when Bonita goes OFF!! *teehee* Second, the YouTuber’s hair is RIDIC!! I mean, long as all get out and so healthy looking without a broken strand visible to the naked eye (whereas I have a ton from a rough, dry winter :()!! Now, I know her hair is not curly, kinky, or coily. However, I have always believed that we can learn things from a variety of sources and different textures/ethnicities as so many of the practices that promote healthy hair are the same, regardless of race/texture/hair type (i.e. moisture, protein, protection). And, given the benefits of coconut oil (did you see this recent article on CurlyNikki about the amazing penetrating capabilities of coconut oil?!?!?) and how great it works for me, I figured coconut milk (which has coconut oil in it) might be just as awesome.

via BeautyKLove

Part I: Extracting Coconut Milk

Part II: Applying Coconut Milk

Now, though I love the IDEA of using fresh coconut milk, #aintnobodygottimeforthat.  *LOL* So, I broke out  a can of coconut milk that I had in the cabinet. I had picked up a couple of cans a long time ago for a post-wash avocado/coconut milk/honey DC that didn’t work out too well (made my hair hard). But, I was ready to give this new use of it a go! However, first, I decided to research a little more to see if I could find naturals who had used coconut milk with success. And, I just so happened to come across these posts by my virtual curlfriend, Petra/Emily CottonTop: Coconut Milk Deep Condition and Results – Coconut Milk Pre-Poo.  In these posts, Petra shares a pre-poo recipe:

The recipe
Coconut Milk  – 4 tablespoons
Honey -2 tablespoon
3 of Your Favorite oils – 1 tablespoon each

… and her awesome results. I was sold!

So, I whipped up a batch of coconut-milk with Vatika Oil and EVOO, using only two tablespoons of oil instead of three. I heated the mix and applied to my dry dirty hair. Then I donned a plastic cap and my thermal heat turban for about an hour. I will say that the application process was messy and a bit sticky. But, my wash process went very smoothly and my hair felt stronger, moisturized and my twists were so plump, juicy and shiny!

So, this past weekend, I made a coconut milk pre-poo again with the leftovers from the prior week. This time, I added some Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose conditioner (I was hoping that it would thicken the mix, but it didn’t really) and applied and massaged plain, warmed coconut milk into my scalp too. Though the application process was still a little messy (I think I’ll use a small dye applicator bottle in the future), I had great results again. So, I’m really thinking this will become a staple in my regimen!! I will keep an eye on my hair to make certain that the coconut milk doesn’t begin to make it feel hard or brittle (due to the protein content). If it does, I will reduce the frequency of the treatment.

Finally, I don’t use much coconut milk for the treatment and it only keeps in the fridge for about two weeks it seems. So, I was worried about spoilage and wasting it. Fortunately for me, I discovered that it can be frozen into ice cubes to form convenient “serving sizes” for future use!!!


So yeah, all engines are a go!! Coconut milk pre-poo treatments are my new boo!! Time will tell if it results in strands as long, seemingly perfectly uniform in length, and unbroken as that YouTuber!! One can only hope ;)!!


Do you use coconut milk in your regimen? If so, what’s your recipe and process? How often do you use it? What benefits to you see from using it?