Daily Archives: September 9, 2011

GOC Update: Michelle Howard Smith


And here’s Michelle (First Wave) sharing her learnings from the first month of the challenge!

I did do something yesterday. I did twists and clipped them up in a banana clip and pinned it into a sort of French bun. However, since my scalp itches a lot, I took it out today (*sigh*, i know more manipulating) and co-washed my hair. I used Zizyphus straight out of the fridge afterwards and my hair feels absolutely heavenly and springy. I used WEN styling cream throughout and sealed the entire head by working Jojoba oil through my strands. I then proceeded to twist in big twists just to dry. No breakage and very very soft. The ends even curled up some :).  I’m pleased. Tomorrow, I will just start my week of bunning, even for FNO.

So my learnings for the month:

Less is more. While it’s nice to try different styles, they need to be spaced out because all this manipulating just ain’t good for my hair!  I also learned that my hair loves a balance of protein and moisture. My new staple: Zizyphus! (shocker)

I took measurements on August 20th:

Left Back 14 1/2 inches

Top Side 14 inches
Crown 10-11 inches
Front Side – 11 inches
Front 10-12 inches (this was the bang I had cut in November)

Michelle 🙂

Head on over to Radiant Brown Beauty to follow Michelle’s journey and learn more about Zizyphus and how this ayuverdic powder enhanced her curls!


Michelle, you are really starting to diagnose and understand your head of hair! Great job! And, I love those twists! 

What did you learn about your hair in August?

I learned that my hair only likes shampoos that lather (sulfate-free included!!) if they are heavily diluted with water first! Full strength lathering shampoo=detangling nightmare!!


GOC Update: Miche’al

Miche’al (Second Wave) experiments with updos!
Miche’al (pronounced Michelle)

Hey Gals,

I really haven’t been up to much since my last update. I have been getting ready to go back to work, so that has been keeping me really busy. You would think after 10yrs of teaching I would be able to set up my classroom with no problem :(. Nope, every year it’s always something different. Anyway, I have been very good about my diet surprisingly, but I contribute that to going back to work. Usually in the summer, when I am at home, I tend to eat more. However, now that I am back on my grind, I just have enough time for my basic meals. My exercise routine hasn’t been that great. I have been running more, so that I may enjoy the last bit of summer weather. Also, when I can, I squeeze in a Jillian Michaels DVD.

As for my hair, nothing much has been going on. I have been doing my same routine. I ordered some of the Rajasthani Twilight henna and the Zizyphus that Michelle from Radiant Brown Beauty recommended. So, I can’t wait to try those out. In other hair news I have been experimenting with some of Shelli’s up-dos. Up-dos are so much easier for me to handle during the school year. In the pictures I have posted, I tried to achieve Shelli’s Chinese Bun (minus the braid). I must say, I never put synthetic hair into my own, so this was new to me. However, the added hair made the bun look 10 times better than when I tried it on my own hair. I think it came out not too shabby.

Well, that is all for now. Thanks again Shelli for this opportunity to share with one another. Until next update:

Blessings and Happy Growing to All!


Oooh girl, I hope you have a good group of kids and the hard work is rewarding! Loving the bun! So happy that you are finding styles that you are willing to give a try!

GOC Update: Adrienne


Next up is Adrienne (Second Wave), who is successfully recruiting for “Team Natural!” 😉

by Adrienne of Natural Embrace

I started off strong in this challenge. I was exercising regularly and keeping my hair in protective styles and moisturized. Sometime toward the end of August, I fell off the wagon a bit. While I was exercising, it was only about two, maybe three times a week. My hair regimen I kept up with, except I wasn’t deep conditioning very often. I can’t really tell if my hair has grown in this month that has gone by, but it looks and feels thicker, so I suppose that’s a plus. My weight hasn’t changed either, which I’m not really surprised about because, honestly, I don’t think it will change unless I do something extreme, like eat 1000 calories a day, which I won’t do.

I’ve been sick the last few days, so it’s been a good week since I’ve been to the gym. I’m feeling better today and hopefully I can make it to the gym to do a quick run and maybe lift some weights. I’ve been doing the baggy method every night and since my hair is feeling super soft, I figure I’ll stick with this for the time being. I’m going to continue wearing buns to keep my ends protected and, hopefully, I’ll see better results to reveal to you for the next check-in. Here’s my official/sort of length check. I felt like I really didn’t do one at the start of this challenge, so here it is.

Oh yeah, on a side note, I convinced my mom to big chop this past weekend! I’m so happy she’s joined Team Natural! Check her out!


*singing* “Go Adrienne’s momma, it’s your birthday!!” Okay, she is too cute with her little tube dress!!  

And Adrienne, it seems you’re doing better than some of us given that you worked out a couple of days when you were sick! As to the weight loss thing, 1200 is the minimum calories you should consume and it’s doable unless you have a medical condition that affects your metabolism. If you do, best to see a nutritionist and your doctor to develop the best strategy for weight loss.

It’s Henna Time!!


Yup, it’s going to be a henna weekend. The SO is away and the roots are looking cu-uh-RAZEE! Patchy McAdams is back in effect!! That’s because, last month I decided not to do a two-step indigo to make the back of my hair black. I just wasn’t feeling like it and figured it wouldn’t be too bad to go one month without using indigo.

Ummm, that might have worked if I stuck with buns. But with box braids, where you see the hair to the scalp? … yeah, not so much! LOL! So, the frozen henna is sitting on the kitchen counter thawing for application Friday or Saturday. Haven’t decided which one yet.

So, I said that I might do a micro trim on the braids. I actually ended up just doing a search and destroy on each braid instead. The braids are very helpful as I was able to systematically go though each section and my hair was stretched, making it easier to examine the ends. I used my eyes to look and my fingers to feel for splits and knots. This is all I trimmed in my thorough S&D mission (I usually just haphazardly S&D on wash day).

Those spots you sometimes see in my pics are on the camera lens. I've tried, but can't remove them!

I took the braids out tonight (I’m writing this Thursday) in case I decide to do the henna Friday. A friend of mine said that I’d probably have a nice, defined, crinkly braid out. I told her that I doubted that I would like it because it would probably be too stringy-looking for me. I like big hair. Well, when I released the braids, I loved the definition. But, as usual, I wish my hair was thicker. I think that a lot of times you guys don’t see this from the camera’s eye, but my naked eye sees gaps that make my hair look thin. I really swear that my hair used to be denser, but it may have just been that it was curlier. So, the shrinkage made it look thicker. I don’t know. It’s a source of frustration for me trying to analyze the few old pictures I have  and figure out if I had more hair in my late 20s than I now have as I’m rapidly approaching my 40s. *sigh*

Anywho, here are a few pics of the braid out. I like it, just don’t like the gaps, which you can see in a couple of these pics.

My hair is parted to the side in this pic. That's why the right side looks shorter.

Not sure of what it will do overnight. I’ll try putting it in a high bun with a scarf wrapped around it. We’ll see if it’ll hold up for a down and out style tomorrow. If not, back into a bun it goes. That’s something I’ve observed about my fine-stranded hair, it seems to not hold definition as well as its thicker counterpart. So, by the time I wake up tomorrow, it may be undefined and/or fluffed out. Though, that’s not necessarily a bad thing as my hair may look bigger and thicker ;)!

Whelp, to wrap this up, I must say that, on the one hand, I enjoyed having braids for a week because I didn’t really have to worry about my hair too much in the morning. I just smoothed the edges with a little shea butter or shea/eco mix and tied it down until I got to work. But, on the other hand, I really missed having loose hair for big buns and updos. It made me wonder how I’ll do if I get those new Nubian/spring/bomb (yeah, they go by all those names! Who knew?) I talked about in this post. I’m still aiming for getting them in November (if the hair is ever back in stock!), so guess we’ll see.

Lata Gatas!!

(p.s. My order from Mehandi.com arrived! But, I won’t be trying the  Zizyphus until next week and the Rajasthani Twilight henna until next month. But, reviews will follow!)