Daily Archives: December 28, 2011

Hair Crush: Le Shor’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I am a workaholic, mother of four children in the process of teaching myself not to take life so seriously and start having fun!

What prompted your decision to go natural?
I have been relaxed since I was 8 years old. As long as I had a hairstylist that was on the same page as me regarding my hair, that is to say, give me a trim, not a cut, don’t yank through my hair when combing, etc., I never had a problem being relaxed. I went natural in 2003. I made a conscious decision to grow out my hair. After about 9 months, I cut the relaxed ends off. I had about 4-5 inches of natural hair. I rocked twists and twist-outs for about 3 months. At the 3 month mark, I decided to get my hair blown out. The stylist used permanent color. I usually used rinses. Well, come wash day, I had stick straight hair in various sections. I didn’t cut my hair. I chose to wear my hair in twists until it grew out for a year. I relaxed again. After about 6 years of being relaxed. I decided to transition my waist-length relaxed hair again.

How long did you transition?
My last relaxer was May 2008. I “accidently” transitioned for 9 months. Three months passed, then six months since I had gotten a touch-up. Itching to see my natural hair, I did the BC. I have been fully natural since April 2009. I was busy being a full-time student, full-time mom to four children, a full-time job…you get the gist. I just did not have time to go to the beauty salon for 3-4 hours to get my hair done. Every time I had the itch to get a touch up I would chop more of my hair off. I had about 3-4 chops before I got rid of all of the relaxed ends. My transition style was braid-outs.

When and how did you big chop?

I decided to big chop in April 2009. I washed and conditioned my hair, got out the scissors and started cutting. I had my daughter cut the back for me.

How did you feel immediately before and immediately after your big chop?
It felt like a weight was lifted. I felt very happy, but about 10 minutes later I had a moment of “WTF did I just do!” Like I said .. a moment. LOL!

How do you feel now?
I am still happy with my decision. I am enjoying my hair much more this time around. I have discovered that my hair is schizophrenic. It has many personalities. The crown is straighter and wavy, the sides are curly like 3C, the nape is wavy like 3C, the portion between the crown and the nape ranges from 3C to 4A. Sometimes they play well with each other and other times, not so much.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
I wash my hair once every 6-8 weeks. I co-wash every 3 days when I wear twistouts. I co-wash once a week when I do two strand twists. My current regimen is I put my hair in about 12-16 big twists and co-wash each section making sure that I am detangling my hair with my fingers. I do a thorough detangling with a wide-tooth comb and my denman brush once a month when I color my hair with Clariol’s Beautiful Collection Advanced Gray Solution Semi-permanent Color. I detangle my hair with Aussie Moist, I use Kimmaytube’s leave-in recipe and then use Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie when I do my twists.

What are your favorite styles?
My favorite styles are twist-outs and two strand twists. I was experimenting with rollersetting and Curlformers.

What are your hair plans/goals?
Now that the winter is upon us, I plan on keeping my hair in mini twists until May 2012. Every month, I will take them out, wash, deep condition and color my hair. I will probably wear my hair out for a day and then retwist in mini twists. I will style my hair using curlformers, flexi rods, bunning, etc. I want to use this New Year to retain as much length as possible.

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
I don’t have a particular hair crush. I love to look at any hair, loced, relaxed, natural, etc. that is healthy.

Who is your favorite natural blogger, YouTuber and/or Fotkier and why?
I have two favorite bloggers: Hairscapades and CurlyNikki. You guys are my “go to” websites that I frequent on a daily basis. I like to see the updates, tutorials, what’s new and poppin’! My favorite YouTubers would be Kimmaytube and SistaWithRealHair. Kimmaytube because of her scientific approach to why things are the way they are and SistaWithRealHair because of her “this is me and how I do things” attitude.

Anything else that you would like to add?
I have a Fotki at www.public.fotki.com/lbellin and I just started to document my life and hair journey at www.ALifeUncomplicated.com.

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Color Options with BAQ Henna

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Tips & Tricks Number Thirteen

Kendall asks:

I’ve been used to having the freedom to change up my hair style whenever I feel like it. I cut it short, I get bangs, I get a weave to change up my style. But now that I’m trying to transition and want to focus on retaining length, my usual methods of keeping my hair/look interesting are out the window! So now I’m thinking about adding color, BUT I don’t want any chemicals. Is there a way to add color without the use of harsh chemicals or the slight tint you get from Henna?

Why yes. Yes there is! *lol* I’ve often read comments from women who indicate that the would like to try henna, but don’t want the red/orange tint that accompanies it. Well, there is a relatively easy way to obtain a variety of auburns, browns and blacks with henna and it simply involves adding cassia, amla and/or indigo to your henna mix. Now, one thing that you must understand about henna is that it will never lighten your hair as it does not lift color from your strands. Rather, henna colors by depositing a dye molecule which bonds to the keratin in hair. So, the tone/color you achieve is dependent upon your starting hair color, which may be your natural color(s) or color achieved through other chemical processes (commercial dyes, bleaching and/or highlights) and your henna mix ratios. You can go deeper/darker than your starting color(s), but never lighter.

Henna/Indigo Mixes:
So, what are your options? There are so many, I can’t go through them all here. But, here is a list of some color possibilities and the henna mix ratios if your starting color is medium brown:

  • Red highlights: Equal parts henna and cassia
  • Dark Auburn: Henna only
  • Warm Brown: Equal parts henna and indigo
  • Dark Brown: 2/3 henna, 1/3 indigo
  • Darker Brown: 1/3 henna, 2/3 indigo
  • Blue Black: 2 step henna-indigo (henna applied alone, rinsed and then followed with indigo applied alone)
  • Cooler Browns: Mix 1 part amla with 3 parts henna prior to adding indigo

If you’re interested in learning more about the colors you can achieve on your hair color, check out Catherine Cartwright-Jones’s very informative and free e-book, Henna for Hair. The “Quick Mix Chart” on page 55 provides ratios for obtaining various color results on everything from grey to blonde to black hair. For example, if you have light brown hair with grey that you’d like to turn into blonde highlights, you can use cassia, which has a yellow dye molecule. Or, perhaps you’d like to make your blonde highlights or grey strands a strawberry blonde? Try mixing equal parts henna and cassia. The Henna for Hair e-book provides a vast amount of information regarding the benefits of this wonderful little ayuverdic herb, how to use it and many pictures that demonstrate the color possibilities.

More Henna Mixes:
In addition, some add common household ingredients to their henna mixes to enhance color. For example:

  • Add cognac, grape juice, beetroot powder or ground cloves for more intense reds.
  • Add strong black coffee,strong black tea or walnuts for deeper browns.
  • Add red wine for chestnut brown color.

See this post here for more options, recipes and mix ratios. However, I offer this information with the caveat that I’ve never tried any of these! So, I would recommend that you research your choice of “additives” before experimenting and do a strand test as I’ve read that some additions make for a very stinky henna experience and may not impact the color results!

Precautionary Advice on “Natural” Hair Dyes:
One final note, when searching for natural hair color options, be cautious and do your research when contemplating using “boxed” dyes that are purportedly “natural.” I went to a salon last February and, after I explained that I use henna, the stylist began singing the praises of a “new,” ammonia free, natural dye system: L’Oreal Inoa (standing for “Innovative – No Ammonia” … allegedly). Well, a quick internet search when I got home revealed that, although the dye might not contain ammonia, the post-color shampoo does and the ingredient label clearly lists ammonia hydroxide (see article and image of bottle here)! A little more searching also revealed multiple sources that indicate it also contains a high level of PPD, a potential carcinogen.

Ironically enough, Organic Hair Systems, Inoa’s competitor that provided the prior article “exposing” the misnomer, does not appear to be a perfectly natural alternative either. An article on Green Talk explains that Organic Color Systems is simply a trade name and although this hair color line does not contain any ammonia, it does contain small amounts of PPD as well as other chemicals. Therefore, it is neither an “all-natural” nor an organic color option.

So, if you are looking for truly all-natural hair color and are willing to spend a little more time with the process, BAQ henna mixes may be one of your best options. And hey, maybe you’ll end up liking a little red in your life. I know that I LOVE it;)!

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Do you mix henna with indigo, amla and/or cassia to dye your hair a shade of red, brown or black? What’s your starting hair color(s) and your mix?