Monthly Archives: November 2013

Chicoro Lead Hair Theory (Kind of) Update

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Curly Nikki recently re-posted my How I Retain Length article from 2012 and I thought it was perfect timing to share a sort of, kind of update on the Chicoro “Lead Hair” Theory experiment I wrote about in 2011!!

So, I was going through some of my hair pics from 2010 and came across the pics on the left. They are from late December 2010, a few short months before I joined the Curly Nikki/Kim Coles Grow Out Challenge with a goal to grow my hair to waist length. The shots are before and after a self-trim. The picture on the right is from September 2013.

As you can see from all of the pics, my perimeter is thin and the bulk of my hair is a few inches higher. As I’ve previously mentioned, I believe that this is a result of my crown being more breakage-prone and slower growing than my nape. Also, my nape is barely wavy and my crown is curly (probably a 3c), so my perimeter really looks thin when my hair is worn in natural styles. Now, I would love to have a full perimeter, but just don’t think my hair grows or falls that way. Therefore, it was fortunate for me that I learned about Chicoro’s Lead Hair Theory a couple of years ago and accepted my Fairytale Ends.

Now, the reason this is “kind of” an update to that old post is because I haven’t totally followed the Chicoro method of “goal point” trimming. She actually espouses allowing the “lead hair” to grow an inch or two past the bulk of the hair, but then cutting the hair blunt once it reaches the “goal point.”  However, I decided to just get minimal trims every 6 months or so. As long as my ends are healthy, I don’t concern myself with having a perfectly blunt and full perimeter. I almost never wear my hair entirely straight anyway and my goal is to retain as much healthy length as possible, even if my hair is, well … uneven. *lol*

The reason I am sharing this is to shed some light on uneven growth patterns versus breakage and methods of cutting/trimming the hair. In February 2011, I got a “trim” that turned into a blunt perimeter haircut (didn’t go to that salon again :/). But, after that haircut, I started getting trims only and my hair grew out unevenly again.

Length Check  (Feb 19, 2011)Feb 2011

Nov 2011Nov 2011

IMG_7548Dec 2012

Some might see my earlier pics and think it meant breakage and that my hair would just get shorter if I didn’t get a serious hair cut, taking off a few inches to make it blunt. But, as you can see from these pics, my crown did continue to retain length, although not at the speed of my longest area.

This proved to me that, in order to retain as much length as possible, I could continue to trim based upon the health and condition of my ends and not based upon the fullness/evenness of my perimeter, with one caveat. I try not to let the longest hair get more than a couple of inches longer than the bulk as it causes more tangling

I share this to say, if retaining max length is your goal and you don’t wear your hair straight the majority of the time, you may want to try trimming to eliminate damaged ends only and not for “bluntness.” Hair can be healthy and retain length/grow long without having a perfectly blunt/even “hemline.” That being said, if your ends are knotty, tangling, splitting into forests, or excessively dry and rugged, a trim is likely in order to prevent further damage ;). But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to trim all of your hair even to get rid of the damage. You can trim judiciously, eliminating the badly damaged ends and leaving the healthy hair behind. That’s the beauty of natural kinky, curly, coily hair! It doesn’t have to be perfectly blunt to look great!!

Quick length check.Oct 2013

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Do you trim for healthy or even ends? Have you tried the Chicoro Goal Point Method of trimming? How did it work out for you?

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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 …

BnTnC5

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?

Nighttime Routines – An Alternative to the Pineapple

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First, my fine strands don’t do well with daily manipulation and nightly re-braiding/re-twisting routines. So, I need a nighttime routine that involves minimal hair handling. But, the “pineapple,” high unicorn horn ponytail just never worked well for me. I mean, I gave it the ol’ college try! Really I did. Over and over again. But, my curls just don’t defy gravity *sad face* (don’t you love that song though?). So, they would just flop all up in my face, or fall back down onto my neck (no matter that I started the night with them daintily draped over my satin pillowcase). Inevitably, I’d end up sleeping on and crushing at least half of my curls. Not only that, when it was time to take the pineapple down in the  morning, my less curly nape hair “tail” would be even longer (ughhh!!! Yes! The dreaded curly mullet) and my hair would be frizzy. So, finally, I gave up on the pineapple and just started bunning my hair instead. I still had to deal with flattened curls and ends, but not so much frizz, no excessive tail, and no face-flop for sleepy time.

Then, a couple of months ago, I accidentally discovered an alternative to the pineapple that really works for me! I just wanted to get to bed as quickly as possible and threw my hair up with a barrette. Well, the “technique” ended up keeping my hair up and off of my face and neck, prevented excess frizz, and preserved my curly ends! I was also able to swap out my satin scarf for a sweatband and get my morning workout on with minimal damage too!! Eureka!!

Anywho … that’s enough lead up … so, wanna hear it? Here it go!!!

BEDTIME UPDO

  1. Gather hair into a low ponytail.
  2. Twist the ponytail up head one to two times like I am doing a French twist, leaving the curly ends free.
  3. Secure the twist against my crown with a Goody Comfort Flex barrette and with the curly ends loose at the top of my head.
  4. Wrap a long, oblong satin scarf around the back of head towards the front and back around again, tying a knot at the nape.
  5. Leave the curly ends peaking out at the top or pull the scarf up and tuck in the curly ends to cover them (in the pic, my ends are covered; in the video, they are out).
  6. “Anchor” the scarf with two to three large “doobie” pins to prevent slippage while sleeping.

And for those of you who are visual learners …

And that’s it. Super simple. Super easy. Super quick! That’s a winner in my book!

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Have you found an alternative to the pineapple for preserving your curls at night?

PSA: Saving Your Strands

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ponytail2(I know some of you want my T-shirt ;). Sorry, it was a limited edition!)
#CalvinandHobbesForever!!

Hey guys! Just popping on here really quickly to share a little length retention tip that may seem like “duhhhhh” to some. But, was something that really just hit me a couple of years ago.

Okay, so … what had happened was … I had my hair secured with two Goody Ouchless ponytail elastics for, like, a week. I had not done anything with my hair all week, except put some gel on the edges to make it look presentable. So, when I was finally taking out the elastics to pre-poo, this happened …

tangledwebNo bueno!

Now, my first instinct was to pull and tug on the hair to try to free it. But, after a minute, I realized that was not working too well. Then, I thought, “I’m going to have to cut my hair off of this!” But, then, I immediately thought, “STOP!!! Are you stupid?!? Doesn’t it make so much more sense to cut the ELASTIC?!?” I mean, really!! Lose 50 cents instead of losing months of growth? #soundslikeaplantome

After I cut the elastic, I was able to slide it out of my hair and then detangle the knotted hair. Funny thing is, a similar thing happened to me a couple of years ago. My hair got wrapped around a neck button at the back of my shirt and I couldn’t get it free. Someone was helping me free it and finally gave up saying, “I think we have to cut your hair.” I was like, “Uh, no. Cut the button off the thread. The button can be sewn back on, my hair can’t!”

#usingmynoggin

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What “common sense” hair strategies have you learned to use to protect your strands?

Dry Two Strand Flat Twist-Out: Blown Out Hair

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Yup. I’m at it again. Still trying how to figure out how to two-strand flat twist correctly, and still not getting it quite right. But, even with my less than stellar installation, the results were pretty good!! I know that I didn’t do them right because I didn’t have two clean sections when I removed them. But … good enough.

Anywho, the weekend before last, I was going for a wedding day hair trial with Jaded Tresses. So, I blew out my hair and she lightly flat-ironed it. A couple of days later, I decided to try another NaturalNeiicey (aka PGneiicey) twist out tutorial I’d watched weeks earlier. I was just hoping that my hair would look HALF as gorgeous as hers.

I had blown my hair out over the weekend and used a leave-in, heat protectant, and smoothing cream for that purpose. So, when I set it in the twists, I didn’t want to add any additional products to the length of my hair. Instead, I just spritzed the twists lightly with water after they were done. Then, I did use a little Deva Curl Set It Free (my unsung hero) on my ends before setting them on rollers. And, on day 2, I used my good ol’ Soft n’ Free Mold & Hold Wax for edge control.

(Click pics to see captions.)

Day 2 (better than day 1!)

End of day 2 (better than day 1!)

Okay, gotta go get in Day 258 of 365 Days of Fitness (it’ll be a short one because it’s late now). Oh, and I completed Day 58 of 365 Days of the Word earlier this morning. Update on both challenges coming soon!!

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Do you do blow-out styles? If so, which styles do you prefer the most on blown-out hair (i.e. twist-outs, braid-outs, buns, etc.)?