Category Archives: My Staples

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?

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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!!

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.)

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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?

Goat Milk Conditioning Hair Mask

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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:

DIY GOAT MILK & HONEY CONDITIONING HAIR MASK

Ingredients:

  • 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!)

Directions:

  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)!!

TIPS:

  • 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 …

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

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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

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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.

SUMMER/FALL 2013 REGIMEN

Weekly:

  • 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).

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  • 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.

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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)!

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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!

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

Coconut Milk Pre-Poo

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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!!!

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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 ;)!!

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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?

Coconut Oil Body Whip

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Over the last couple of months, I’ve been struggling with excessively dry skin. I’m talking about the type of dry where the skin is ashy, cracked and hurts because it’s so tight! Even after slathering on body butters, lotions, oils … still dry as the Sahara, ashy and hurtful!! I know that the change to cold weather results in less humidity and dryer inside air caused by heated cars and houses. However, I also know that I didn’t experience this last year and, I think that a large part of it was related to my lack of water consumption over the last two months (which I rectified 2 weeks ago).

Regardless of my water issues, I was still getting aggravated that the natural oils and butters weren’t helping the situation. It seemed to me that they just sat on top of my skin rather than penetrating to moisturize it. And even leaving water on my skin before applying the oils and butters to seal it in didn’t seem to work! It seems that the only thing that provides any lasting relief (meaning through the work day) was my Vaseline Intensive Care. But, I’ve been trying to get away from commercial products with parabens and synthetic ingredients and incorporate more natural products into my skincare.  So, I have decided to try something that I love with all my heart for hair and that Wei uses religiously for his body (he calls it, “juices and berries,” and his skin is like butta!! *lol*). You guessed it!! COCONUT OIL!! (It really wasn’t too difficult to figure out, was it? *lol* ;))

The weekend before last, I scoped out organic unrefined virgin coconut oil (VCO) on sale at my local health food store. It was far cheaper than the same brand at my local Shop-rite. So, we hit up the spot this past Saturday.

coconutoilonsale$14.99 for 29 ounces!!

Yeahhhh … we got two. LOL. Next, I went to the essential oil (EO) section and as I looked for something that might mix well with the coconut oil. I have lavender, rosemary, cedarwood and thyme EO at home, but those were not scents that I relished. As I was perusing the offerings, a store clerk asked me if I needed any help. I told her that I was looking for an EO that would work well in a body oil made with coconut oil. I also told her that I like citrusy smells (I was holding tangerine EO), but I know that some EOs can be irritating to the skin. She then proceeded to recommend maychang. I’d never heard of it before, but took a whiff from a tester and loved it! I was sold and after picking up a few more things, including lunch, we paid for our goods!!

On Sunday, I pulled out my dusty mixtress cap and got to work (if you can even call it that!). First, I scooped out some coconut oil and filled up a 1/2 c. plastic container. Then, I microwaved a cup of water and dumped it into a pot into which I placed the plastic container.

coconutoil_meltingThe burner is NOT lit.

After several minutes, most of the oil melted and I poured it into a small travel bottle. I added about 4-5 drops of the Maychang EO, shook up the bottle and then repeated the process to make a full bottle of scented body oil.

coconutoil1Halfway done!

Now, the thing is, coconut oil goes hard at room temp or colder. Out of habit, Wei always throws his bottle of oil in the shower with him to melt it. But, I know that I will forget to do that and end up being mad and frustrated as heck trying to get it melt when I’m trying to get out the door for work. Well, fortunately for me, I came across this post on Saturday: RevitaliseYourHealth.com – 25 Magical Things to Make with Coconut Oil (Note: registration may be required). It had links to all of these great coconut oil recipes for body, hair and health!! The first was a super simple recipe was for a coconut oil “whip” that the writer made to deal with the issue of coconut oil hardening! It only contained 1 required ingredient (coconut oil, obviously ;)) and 2 optional ones! I was SOLD!

via Living The Nourished Life

What you need:
1 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional)
a few drops of your favorite essential oils for fragrance (optional)

What to do:
1. Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl. (You do not have to melt the coconut oil first.)
2. Mix on high speed with a wire whisk for 6-7 minutes or until whipped into a light, airy consistency.
3. Spoon the whipped coconut oil body butter into a glass jar and cover tightly. Store at room temperature, or in the refrigerator if your house is so warm it melts the oil.

I had my coconut oil, my vitamin E capsules and my EO! So, I pulled out my woefully unused electric hand mixer and got to work. I threw in the cup of coconut oil, the oil from five 400 EU vitamin E capsules, and about a 1/4 c. of shea butter … just because. I set the time on my microwave for 7 minutes and whipped the ingredients on medium to high. The oil and shea butter blended quickly and easily and the 7 minutes flew by. Once I was done with that, I added about 6-7 drops of the maychang EO and blended for another 30 seconds to a minute.

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Next, I had to find a glass jar in which to store my lovely whip! All I had was plastic containers! But then, I thought of a source!! I asked Wei to open the fridge and found two small old jars, one filled with pesto (8 oz.) and the other with minced garlic (4.5 oz) that could be discarded. We washed them out with soap, water and then a little white vinegar to kill the smell. I opted to use the bigger pesto container … one, because it was big enough to hold all of the whip; two: because it didn’t smell like garlic *LOL*.

So, now I’m going to admit that I fibbed a little earlier when I said that I hadn’t done ANY Christmas shopping. You see, as I was making the whip, I had a ¤¤¤Brain Blast¤¤¤!!

What a great homemade gift for my 12 direct employees!!! It’s practical, useful, personal, creative and smells good!! But, I needed more small glass jars … and not repurposed ones!! LOL! So, I posted the first pic on IG and asked for ideas on where I could find them! I got lots of great suggestions and decided to go with small mason jars from Walmart or Ace Hardware. I found four packs of 8 ounce mason jars at Walmart for less than $4 each. But, the jars and tops were wide, so I decided to hit Ace to see if their jars were a little smaller in diameter. Well, I found 4 ounce jars in a 12 pack for $8.49 instead! PERFECT!! So, I got those for the gift body whips and plan on returning all but one of the 8 oz. jar 4-packs (I’ll keep one box for my own personal use ;)).

masonjars24 oz. jars on either side; 8 oz. jar  in the middle

Finally, I got another really cute idea from a young lady on IG and I have some other “additives” for the mixes. But, I don’t want to give it all away! So, you’ll learn the end results of my little DIY Christmas gift project when I finish it! Or, if you just can’t wait, you can read the comments on the IG post here and figure it out ;). But first things first, I need to pick up some more coconut oil!! I learned that I might be able to get a better deal at Trader Joe’s, so I may go there or order it on Amazon! Hmmm, any other suggestions (This would be a good addition to I Found It Cheaper, right?).

Now, wish me luck that now that I’m drinking enough water, my new coconut oil and whip will work to keep my skin moisturized and supple!!

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Do you use coconut oil on your body? Have any advice to maximize the benefits and/or a great recipe to share?

Moisturized Hair: It Starts on Wash Day

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When I’m in the guise of my alter ego, “Hairscapades” ;), I often receive or read cries for help that go something like this:

“Can someone please recommend a good moisturizer? My hair is always so dry!!”

I came across just such a question this past weekend on CurlyNikki’s Facebook page and I did my best to answer it. As I wrote the response, I realized that my answer to this frequent query might be helpful to other … so this post was “born.”

Now, here are a couple of disclaimers before we get started. One, my hair is a mix of regular and high porosity strands, you may need to modify some of these steps if your hair is under-porous. Two, my suggestions here are for hair that is really in need of moisture. It is not for hair that is over-moisturized and in need of protein to help it retain hydration. For more on dry, brittle hair that may be a result of over-conditioning caused by regular co-washing, overnight baggying, protein avoidance, etc., check out my posts: Moisture and Protein: Finding the Balance and Can I Over-Condition?

6 Steps to Building Sustained Moisture

Okay, now back to the question at hand. When, I see inquiries like the one above, I rarely make product recommendations for “daily” moisturizers. This is because, I think building sustained moisture starts on wash day. I think the importance of this day can sometimes be underestimated. Therefore, the advice I offer is related to techniques (and the products) that I have found successful in hydrating hair so that it will sustain the moisture level between wash days. This is not to say that a moisturizer will not be needed between wash sessions. However, by building hydration levels on wash day, re-moisturizing sessions during the week may be more effective and required less frequently.

So, here we go. These are the steps that I take to hydrate my hair and seal in all that “moisturiffic” goodness;).

“Naked” hair (left); hair with leave-in (right)

1.  Start with a pre-poo (on dry hair) prior to shampooing. Coat hair with a penetrating oil, like coconut, olive, avocado or Vatika (coconut oil base), which has the ability to enter the hair shaft and reach the cortex to moisturize the hair from the inside out. Leave oil on hair under a plastic baggie for a minimum of one hour up to overnight (heat optional).

What I Use: Right now, I’m loving Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose (moisturizing) or GPB Conditioner (protein) mixed with Vatika oil as a pre-poo. I alternate moisture and protein as needed.

2.  Wash with a non-stripping, sulfate free shampoo.

What I Use: DevaCare No Poo (diluted with water in a dye bottle for easier application and slip).

3.  If necessary, apply a moisturizing, cheapie conditioner to thoroughly detangle hair.

What I Use: Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH). Best detangler I’ve found for my hair so far.

4.  Deep condition (DC) for 15 minutes to an hour with heat. Then, this is key, COOL and SEAL. Cooling and sealing was a game-changer for me. The short of it is that you remove the heat source and allow the DC to cool in your hair for 10-15 minutes. Then, you dilute a regular daily conditioner in cool/cold water and apply it directly over the DC prior to rinsing everything out with cold water. For more details on this technique, check out my post: Deep Conditioning Tricks … Cool & Seal.

What I Use: I’m really feeling Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm to deep condition right now (the Sally’s GVP version is good too). But, I’m also a fan of Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Moisturizing Conditioner, JessiCurl Weekly Deep Treatment, Shea Moisture Raw Shea Deep Treatment Mask and Carol’s Daughter Tui Hair Smoothie. I use HE HH or Aussie Moist as my “sealing” conditioner.

5.  After rinsing the deep conditioner, apply a leave-in conditioner thoroughly to wet or damp hair.

What I Use: I’ve been getting really good results with Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner as a leave-in. But, I also often rely on a modified Kimmaytube leave-in recipe (2 tbsp Kinky Curly Knot Today, 2 tbsp aloe vera juice – whole leaf, 1 tsp of oil [mix of EVOO, JBCO and jojoba oil]).

6.  Seal in the water, leave-in conditioner and any stylers/moisturizers used with an oil, butter or oil/butter blend.

What I Use: JBCO/EVOO mix.

Doing these things on wash day enables my hair to hold onto moisture throughout the week and between wash sessions. Oh, and if my hair is feeling a little dry a few days into the week, I simply apply a moisturizer (with water as the first ingredient) and re-seal with an oil. Happy hair!!

So, if  you are struggling with dehydrated hair, maybe some or all of these steps will help you!! Good luck!!

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How do you build and lock-in moisture on wash day?

My Spring/Summer 2012 Regimen

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Yeah, it’s been a braid out kind of Spring/Summer … well, initially it was a WnG kind of late spring …

But, then I started getting all of those SSKs and nasty tangles!!! So, it evolved into a braid-out kind of summer.

Anywho, realized that I haven’t posted an updated regimen and it’s changed since I last posted it for the GOC that started in April. I’ve chronicled everything here during regular weekly posts. But, figured I’d put it in consolidated form for those who are seeking a one-stop shop for it ;).

Regimen:

Weekly:

  • Working in sections, pre-poo and finger detangle dry hair with Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose (moisturizing) or GPB conditioner (protein) mixed with Vatika Oil. I alternate the Aubrey conditioners depending on what my hair seems to need, but generally I’ve been using the GPB every 2-3 weeks.
  • While detangling, conduct Search and Destroys (S&Ds) to eliminate any visible/tangible split ends and SSKs.
  • Place hair in 6 twists.
  • Oil scalp with Wild Growth Hair Oil (WGHO) original formula.
  • Don plastic cap and apply heat using Hair Therapy Wrap for a minimum of 1 hour. (I’ll usually sleep in the pre-poo overnight out of laziness). 
  • Shampoo hair in twists with DevaCare No Poo diluted in water (approx 2 oz. shampoo to 5-6 oz. water).
  • If hair is especially tangled, condition and finger detangle further with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH).
  • Deep condition with Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm (minimum 1 hour under Hair Therapy Wrap).
  • Use “Cool and Seal” DC technique to rinse DC with diluted HE HH.
  • Apply leave-in (LI):
    • Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose conditioner or;
    • Modified Kimmaytube LI recipe:
      • 2 tbsp Kinky Curly Knot Today
      • 2 tbsp aloe vera juice (whole leaf)
      • 1 tsp oil (JBCO, EVOO and/or jojoba oil)
  • WnG or braid-out to stretch hair. Products vary, but generally:
    • WnG: Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter and LaBella Lots of Curls.
    • Braid-Out: LI only or LI with Wonder Curl Butter Than Love Pudding.
    • Seal with JBCO/EVOO mix or WGHO Light.
  • Air dry and/or use hard bonnet dryer to speed drying time.
  • Shine/Release braids with Wonder Curl Polishing Pomade, Moxie Hair Bling or WGHO Light.
  • Wear hair out 3-4 days, maybe re-braiding once (little more manipulation and exposure than usual; So, I’ll probably go back to 1-2 days out and 5-6 days in a protective style come September).
  • Protective/low manipulation style as needed once braid-out becomes too frizzy (buns, updos, side braid, etc.).
  • Nightly: Pineapple, loosely braid or bun and don 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. Since I don’t tend to do everything in one shot, but rather split it over two days, I tend to spend 1 hour on Friday or Saturday night for my pre-poo session and 3 hours on Saturday or Sunday to wash, DC and style.

Every 4-8 weeks:

  • Two step henna/indigo (roots only full strength application/gloss on length).
  • Clarify, with diluted Ion Curl Solutions Shampoo or Aubrey Green Tea Clarifying Shampoo.

I still have the ApHogee 2 Step Protein Treatment under the sink and now I have a hard bonnet dryer too. But, for the immediate future, I have no plans to do another 2 Step Treatment. My hair has just been doing so well with the Aubrey GPB, I don’t feel it’s necessary right now. But, maybe I’ll revisit it in the fall or winter.

Can you tell that I got a new “toy?” ;)

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Does your regimen change with the seasons? If so, what is/are the major difference(s)?

Henna Weekend

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It was a long-overdue henna day this past weekend! My grey roots were a good inch long and the fact that I skipped an indigo treatment a few months ago and then had a couple of failed henndigo treatments my last go arounds was readily apparent. The center of the back of my head was NOT cute!

Calico cat roots in the back of my head.

Yeah, I’ve been working the last few weeks to REALLY mask that center part when I’ve worn braid and twist outs. On Saturday, I did a quick braid-out (“quick,” referring to how long it set, not the hour it took me to detangle and set it;)) with a little water, Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel and Wonder Curl Butter than Love, sealing the ends with JBCO. I released it using Moxie Bling. It turned out really cute …

But it didn’t last beyond walking out my door that day …

LOL. Anywho, see how my roots look fine here? Yeah, that’s the Touch Back Marker! That thing really works! Because, this is what my roots REALLY looked like …

So yeah, you see why I needed to suck it up and do a 2 step henna and indigo treatment this weekend!

I began the process with a pre-poo/DC of Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner mixed with Vatika Oil. I applied the pre-poo on Saturday night and placed my hair in 8 twists. On Sunday morning, after working out and getting some “thermal action,” I hit the shower and washed my hair in twists using diluted DevaCare No Poo. Then I did my normal two-step henna/indigo process, with one exception. Usually, I get in the shower and try to rinse my hair as free of henna as possible with conditioner before applying the indigo. But, I was in a rush as we had movie plans with friends. So, I only dunked my head in the tub, which was partially filled with water, to quickly rinse the henna. I hoped that it would work so that I could get rid of the shower/conditioner rinse between the henna and indigo applications. And … it did!!

Whoopee!! This means one less trip to the shower during my two step henna/indigo process … and … I don’t have to use as much conditioner either!! Win-win!!

And now, I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief as my hair tri-colored hair is bi-colored again;).

As I’m writing this, it’s Sunday night and I have a head full of Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm. I’ll probably end up sleeping in it, rinsing in the morning and letting my hair air dry in 4-6 big twists on the drive to work.

In other news, Wei and I had a belated birthday brunch with my youngest sister Shana and her friend on Saturday, hence the quick braid out. We went to this spot called The Turning Point in Hoboken. I was good and ate off of the “Fit” menu despite the delicious breakfast offerings (breakfast is my FAVORITE meal!). Then, on Sunday, after my henna/indigo treatment and with my conditioner-laden head covered with a baggie and hat ;), Wei and I went to see Total Recall with friends. TOTAL waste of time. Yeah … NOT a good movie. We were all bored to tears. “Doug,” Colin Farrell’s character, should have been dead 5 times in the first half hour. Although this was a “remake” of Total Recall, it was like a mish mosh knock-off of Terminator, Matrix and Blade Runner, all rolled together, with a sprinkling of Total Recall.

And finally, had a good week in regard to getting back into my exercise regimen and eating well (except for the popcorn at the movies … which I never have. But was treated by the friends, so I was a loser and didn’t say no. Probably set me back on my calories for the week :(.)!! I did the Biggest Loser Level 1 Cardio Max work-out Monday-Friday and 2 rounds of the Lauren Brooks 12 Minute Full Body Blast Kettlebell routine (24 minutes total) yesterday. And now … it’s time to do it again!! LOL! Anywho, I also took some “before” pics (Gawh!! Bleh!!) that probably won’t see the light of day until I have some good “after” pics to compare with them!! And maybe not even then!! So anyway, yeah. Feeling pretty motivated after seeing how far I’ve fallen :P and trying to keep it that way:)!

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You know the drill;). How did you spend your weekend?

Another Braid Out

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My camera-to-computer cable is MIA right now, so you are getting a few pics from the Photo Booth app on my Mac Book Pro! LOL! This is a braid out that I released last night after wearing my hair in 12 braids that I did on Friday night. I did 6 braids on each side, 3 in the front quadrant and three in the back. On wash day, I pre-pooed with my Aubrey GPB and Vatika oil mix, washed with diluted DevaCare One No Poo and then applied Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm for about 5 minutes. Finally, I applied Aubrey Green Tea Cream Rinse directly over the Matrix Biolage and rinsed with cold water. Once out of the shower, I spritzed my hair with diluted Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose (HSR) Conditioner, finger detangled and then applied a little more HSR (full-strength/undiluted) to each section before braiding. I finished by sealing my ends with JBCO.

For the 3 days that I wore the braids, I re-moisturized daily with the diluted HSR and sealed with Wonder Curl Polishing Pomade and/or virgin coconut oil. I released the braids on Monday night. I thought we were going out, but then we didn’t! If I had known I was in for the night, I wouldn’t have released the braids until Tuesday morning! Anywho, the pics of my braided hair are on the regular camera. So, I can only share these kind of fuzzy post-release pics.

So, I’m definitely back to stretching my hair. My ends were getting so knotty from those WnGs and I had to cut out quite a few SSKs. Now, my ends feel sooooo much better and I want to keep them that way! And again, Aubrey GPB and HSR are my new boos. I just love the results I get from them and they have definitely been added to my Holy Grails! I really like the Green Tea Conditioning Rinse too, but I don’t know if it gets Holy Grail status yet. I like using it as my final rinse though as I’m trying to eliminate Aussie Moist and Herbal Essences Hello Hydration from my regimen in lieu of more natural products. I’m not saying I’m going the completely natural/organic route, but I figure I can reduce the number of commercial and chemical-based products for a moderately natural regimen. DevaCare No Poo and Sally’s GVP and brand Matrix Conditioning Balm aren’t going anywhere though … yet.

Anywho, back to braid-outs, I thought it was such a coinky-dink that Naptural85 just posted this braid out tutorial yesterday! I definitely have to try her braiding technique to see if it results in bigger day 1 hair … though, I’m wondering if it would end up being too piecey for my finer strands. Whitney’s hair is just so thick, curly, shiny and frickin’ drool-worthy … NAKED … I can’t even stand it! *LOL*

via Naptural85

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Do you prefer braid outs or twist outs and why?