Daily Archives: August 9, 2011

Two Strand Twists

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Yesterday, I came across this article on how to do two-strand on About.com. Twists aren’t for everybody, but many find them to be a great protective style that can be worn for a week or more. I like to wear them from time to time, but they only lasts about a week for me and I usually have to do some re-twisting in that time. I tend to start my twists like I’m going to do a Senegalese twist to hold them more firmly at the root. Others use braids for the first 1/2 inch or so to help with hold. These are some options not provided in the tutorial that might be helpful to you if you’ve struggled with getting twists to hold at the roots.

I hope to be able to do a two-strand twist set soon (with my recent score, the ORS Lock and Twist Gel … hope that it helps with hold). I want to do a post with different styling options for this versatile style.

Hope that some of you find this tutorial helpful!

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Consequences and Repercussions

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Good morning girls and … well … girls.  Today we are going to talk about what happens when you don’t do what you know you are supposed to do!!  You experience what we call … c’mon now, say it with me … Consequences and Repercussions!! Yea!

You know how they say it takes 6 weeks, or 8 or 10 depending on where you read it, to break a bad habit? Well, it takes a lot less than that to create one! For the last month, I’ve been pretty much blowing off exercising regularly. Well, the piper came a callin’ last night. I went to hot yoga and it KICKED MY BUTT!!! Seriously, I spent at least half of the class in child’s pose, sitting on my butt or laying on my back!!! I did NOT feel good. I tried to do a pose where you stand on one leg … I’ve never had a real problem with this pose, not even at my first hot yoga class… I couldn’t do it!!! My leg was shaking sooo badly trying to bear my weight, I had to stop!! Mind you, my weight is the same, I haven’t gained any despite my almost non-existent “exercise” routine. However, though I may not have gained weight, there were still consequences. And almost falling out during class was his name. So, lesson number one, it’s a lot easier to stay in shape than it is to get back into shape.

Now, on to repercussions. During my extensive child poses in hot yoga, my nose was assaulted with an unpleasant, “mildewy” smell *side eye*. Wait. Is that ??!? Yes. Yes it is. It was my yoga pants! If you take hot yoga, immediately wash your clothes. Don’t let them sit in a pile behind your bathroom door for a few days, stack more sweat drenched exercise clothes on top of them for the next several days, dump them in the basement next to the washer and dryer for another day or two and only get around to washing them at the end of the week. Yeah … not a good idea. And, you know, one of my instructors warned me about this. But, did I listen? Nooooo. I just kept doing it. And my nose and ability to breathe paid for it at the worst time possible!! So now, as I type this post, the sweaty clothes are in the washer with a cup of white vinegar. Lesson number two, learn from the mistakes of others. Don’t think you’re special and that it won’t happen to you. It will!

Class dismissed.

Experiments with Amla

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If you’ve read my Henna and Me HairStory, you know that I used amla in my henna mixture for a few months last year in an attempt to try to preserve my curl pattern. You also know that it was an epic FAIL! It wasn’t a fail in regard to preserving my curl pattern … I really don’t even know if it worked or not. It just made my head itch horribly and I charge it as being responsible for excessive shedding and uncustomary scalp itching for months on end. So, I stopped using it after a couple of months (should have stopped a lot sooner).

Now, I regularly get asked about the curl loosening side effect of henna by concerned fine-haired curlies with looser curl patterns. They really want to try henna because of the unquestionable benefits in regard to strength and shine. But, they don’t want to sacrifice their curls. I completely understand their apprehension. So, I always let them know that I definitely experienced significant curl loosening with repeated applications of henna. I also let them know that I now only apply a full strength henna treatment on my roots for about three applications. If I can remember, I tell them about Cassia (so called, “clear” henna) as another option that give similar conditioning benefits as henna, but without the curl loosening (or as long lasting benefits). Finally, I tell them about amla, but with the caveat that they should immediately discontinue use if it irritates their scalp. Most recently, I’ve  begun to suggest applying amla to the ends of hair that have been loosened by henna to see if it restores curl. However, I never tried that last recommendation. That is, I hadn’t until this past Sunday.

On Sunday morning, I applied a Vatika oil pre-poo to my length and lightly finger detangled. I worked my head in quarters, twisting each section as I completed it. I then applied JBCO to the ends of the twists and applied my essential oil mix to my scalp, massaging it in for a few minutes. I threw on a plastic cap, warmed a damp hand towel in the microwave for 30 seconds and swathed my head in it. I repeated the heated towel application about 3 or 4 times. Then, I sat for about another hour or so with a winter hat on top of the plastic cap.

Once I was done marinating, I mixed some amla powder with hot water in a plastic container to the consistency of yogurt (I didn’t measure the powder or the water. I just poured an amount that I thought would be enough to cover the bottom half of my hair). I removed the plastic cap and began applying the amla to the lower half of my hair, on top of the pre-poo, twist by unravelled twist. Amla is a lot thinner then henna, but it is still like applying mud to your hair (just wetter mud), so I applied it carefully. Next, I folded my amla covered ends up towards my head and secured them with a jaw clip, ensuring that the amla was not making contact with my scalp. I immediately put the plastic cap back over my hair (you can NOT let amla dry on  your hair … it would not end well) and went about my business.

After about an hour, I hopped in the shower and rinsed the amla and pre-poo with a couple rounds of HE HH. I then washed my scalp with DevaCare No Poo and co-washed and detangled with HE HH. Finally, I deep conditioned with Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner for an hour or so, applied DevaCare One Conditioner as my leave-in, put my hair back into four twists and hit the sack. I wore my hair in those same twists today, pulled back with a Goody Comfort Flex and adorned with a flower. I plan on wearing them for the next couple of days (not fancy, but easy and all I feel like doing right now).

I'm just showing this pic because of those grey roots! This is how I KNOW that my hair grows a 1/2 inch a month! Henna time!!

So far, I can’t tell if amla has restored any curl to my hair. It didn’t look too much curlier when it was wet. However, I must say, it looked very shiny and sleek! From what I’ve read, it may take a few applications of amla to restore curl (it purportedly acts like an astringent, so the curl restoration and enhanced volume claims appear to be related to its ability to work similar to a clarifying shampoo). As it wasn’t a big deal to apply and rinse and I didn’t experience any adverse effects using it, I’ll probably repeat this process a couple more times to determine if amla has any curl restoring capabilities for me. I’ll keep you guys posted!

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Have you ever used amla to restore curl or enhance volume?  If so, what was your experience? Did it work for you?  Please expound!