Daily Archives: November 30, 2011

Roll and Side Bun Tutorial (Video)

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Back in August, I told you in this post that I filmed a tutorial for the style pictured above, but was unable to successfully upload it to YouTube. This weekend, I finally figured out how to do it! Without further ado, here is the video tutorial for the roll and bun! Enjoy!

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Now Arriving: Afro Puffy Twists!

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Okay, just doing this really quick post to share my new hair with you! I LOVE it!! In my opinion, the hair is soft, flexible and light when compared to other synthetic braiding/twisting hair and it should only get fluffier and more natural looking the older it gets. When I got home, I spritzed the twists with Sally’s GVP Infusium 23 leave-in, sealed with EVOO and applied my EO mix to my scalp around the cornrows and crown. I am already playing around with different styles and can’t wait to see what else I can come up with! It is sooooo on!

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As to my experience at Braids ‘R Us in Maplewood, NJ? EXCELLENT! Maza (sp?) was my braider and she was very gentle with my hair, didn’t braid too tightly and did exactly as I requested in regard to cornrowing my fine edges. I brought my shower comb with me and combed through my hair before we began and Maza didn’t comb through my hair at all, she simply parted it to form the sections. If she ever snared or tugged a strand (which was rare, maybe 4-5 times during the entire process), she quickly apologized and gentled her touch. The style cost $140 ($160 with tip), took about 7 1/2 hours to complete (due to the length of my hair) and two bags of the Nafy Collection Afro Puffy Twist hair (which I purchased online and brought with me). I do wish that my hair was a little more moisturized. So, in the future, I will add a moisturizing oil, like coconut or Vatika, to my hair while it is still wet, prior to blow drying. In this way, my hair should be more moisturized without being “producty.” If I was flat-ironing, I might visit grapeseed oil or try the rest of MopTopMaven’s Flat Ironing Cocktail;). Back to Braids R’ Us though, it was really good experience and reaffirmed why I went there years ago and referred others to the salon! It is a little more pricey than some braiding parlors in northern NJ, but I believe it is totally worth it for the care given to my strands and the final results.

So yup … I’m a happy camper:)! I plan on trying to keep these in until the end of our GOC at the end of January, so 8 weeks. I hope that I can hold out that long as I usually get antsy around 4 weeks and remove extensions at about 6. So, we’ll see.

Moisture & Protein: Finding the Balance

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Tips & Tricks: Number Ten

via The Science of Black Hair

The unique relationship that exists between the protein and moisture balances within the hair strand is not simply a case of balancing opposing forces one over the other to prevent hair breakage. These two components work together synergistically to produce a healthy head of hair, and neither can work well without the other. Keeping the hair balanced between these two entities is very important.

Over the last couple of months, a few of you have expressed concerns about excessive breakage and how to address it. In addition, I myself had begun to experience it and set about diagnosing the root cause. What I realized about two months ago was that my hair might be over-conditioned/over-moisturized. “What did you say?!?! Over-CONDITIONED? Natural hair?? HERESY!!”

LOL! But seriously, about a year ago, I read about the delicate balance between protein and moisture and “filed” it in the tombs. You see, I kept my distance … a very far distance … from protein. However, I was using henna on the regular and, although I couldn’t find an authoritative source that stated it was an effective alternative to protein, it seemed to work just fine for me as a strengthening treatment.

The problem? At the beginning of 2011, I started to perform roots only applications of henna to eliminate the problem I had with henna build-up causing excessive curl loosening. I would do a bit of a henna gloss on the length, but that was it. It never occurred to me that the length of my hair was no longer getting its regular dose of strengthening henna resin due to my regimen adjustment. So, I went about my merry way until about October of this year when I realized that the length of my hair was very soft, shedding like crazy and also breaking far more than normal. That’s when the article that I read about a year ago came out of the memory catacombs and I started to think that my hair might be over-moisturized and in need of protein.

Most of us think of breakage as related to the lack of moisture. But, in fact, it can be the complete opposite and diagnosing the source of the problem is necessary in order to select the correct solution.

What can cause over-moisturized hair?

via The Science of Black Hair

  • overzealous “baggying”
  • back-to-back conditioner washes that don’t allow the hair to ever dry
  • regular lengthy/overnight deep conditionings
  • keeping the hair wet in general (water or oil) for extended periods of time without a break
  • the complete elimination of protein products altogether

Well, I’ve definitely been known to sleep in a DC overnight and to leave a Vatika oil pre-poo in my hair for multiple days … more out of laziness than a desire to get “extra conditioning.” Also, given that I leave these treatments in so long, I find that I don’t need to co-wash at all during the week or re-wet my hair to maintain it in a moisturized state. Rather, I usually only need to apply a little cream moisturizer and an oil to seal a couple of times between weekly wash sessions. Anywho, the potential that my hair was over-moisturized/conditioned seemed strong.

So, what do you do if you are experiencing an excessive amount of breakage and aren’t sure of whether you need moisture or protein? Begin with a wet hair assessment and determine how your hair responds in the normal course of combing or finger-handling.

via The Science of Black Hair

  • (When Wet or Dry) Stretches slightly and returns to its original length without breaking, you are balanced! Stick with maintaining!
  • (When Wet or Dry) Stretches a little more than normal then breaks, you need more protein in your regimen.
  • (When Wet or Dry)Stretches, stretches, stretches with no significant breakage yet, add a bit more protein to your regimen.
  • (Wet)- Feels weak, gummy, mushy, or limp, you need to add more protein to your regimen.
  • (Wet or Dry) Experiences very little to no stretching, and simply snaps or breaks, you need to increase the moisture in your regimen.
  • (Dry) Feels rough, tough, hard, dry, tangly, brittle, or any combination of those, you need more moisture in your regimen.
  • Unsure? Err on the side of caution and give your hair more moisture. So now that you have figured out what type of hair breakage you have, what should you do?

If it turns out that your hair is over-moisturized, a protein treatment is in order. Fortunately, over-conditioned hair is pretty easily corrected with a single protein treatment. The strength of the protein treatment should be determined by the amount of breakage. A heavy duty treatment like the ApHogee 2-Step is recommended for severe breakage, whereas a lighter protein, like the ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor, is recommended for more typical breakage. Heavy duty protein treatments should be followed by a moisturizing conditioner to restore elasticity as protein “hardens” the hair by “patching” gaps in the cuticle. Also, it is usually recommended that they not be performed more than once every six to eight weeks.

Now, on the other hand, if you hair has too much protein, a moisturizing regimen will be necessary. A protein overload is not as easily and quickly remedied as over-moisturized hair and may take several weeks to rectify. If this is the source of your breakage, the following steps are recommended by The Science of Black Hair:

  • Clarify to remove any excess product buildup.
  • Deep condition for 30-45 minutes (with heat) once or twice a week with a thick, creamy moisturizing deep conditioner.
  • Apply a water-based moisturizer to your hair daily, concentrating on the ends.
  • Avoid excess protein in common products like leave-in conditioners, moisturizers, gels, and instant conditioners.

As to my hairstory, I saw a vast improvement after my first protein treatment (which was followed with a moisturizing deep treatment … ummm, why didn’t they say so?). My hair felt harder than normal, but I’ve come to realize that that feeling also signifies resilience and strength and the softness that I thought of as a good thing, was actually too much of one! So, you know, I’m learning to find the balance ;).

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Do you consider the moisture/protein balance in caring for your hair? How do you incorporate it into  your regimen?