Category Archives: Ninth Wave

My Final GOC Status Update

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2/5/12 (This is a hard shot to take/get!)

So, here it is! My final update of the first ever Hairscapades GOC :)!!

Hair:
As you’ve read about my regimen from week to week, I’m not going to reiterate any of that here. For the most part, I’ve been consistent and I’ve adjusted it, as necessary. As you can see, the longest hair on my head has reached waist length (WL) :). Yea!! That little circle on the pic above is around the WL line and there is hair in between those two fingers. My crown still has a little way to go to catch up to this hair. As a reminder, here are my other two length checks. I only do them every three months, so I did one at the beginning of our challenge on 7/29/11 and one at the midpoint on 11/3/11.

Therefore, my plan for the next GOC is to get a trim (an inch or two) and then use the Chicoro Goal Point Method to work towards a goal of full thickness waist length hair. The problem is, I don’t know how I’m going to get that trim. I want a professional to do it, but I have a problem. The stylist that I went to last was scissor happy and the one prior to that lives kind of far away. So, I’ve been contemplating twisting my hair and snipping it myself. But, I haven’t really decided yet.

Anywho, I did a quick video of my final length check as I couldn’t get a good pic. Sorry as you’ll be able to tell, I’m half awake! LOL!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to update this with some better pictures when I can get a second set of hands to take them ;).

Fitness:
I didn’t, however, achieve my fitness goal, which was to maintain my weight at 120 pounds. Rather, I yo-yoed over the course of the 6 months, working out off and on and practicing healthy eating with the same inconsistency. That resulted in an increase in poundage of 6 lbs as of this date. However, I am actually happy that I didn’t completely fall off the wagon the entire 6 months and pick up 10-12 pounds! That is a victory for me as it is usually my norm. So, now to drop these 6 lbs and get really conditioned for the Rugged Maniac in July and a couple of vacations!

Lessons Learned:
Ultimately, I think that challenges are here to help us learn something. They may teach us something about ourselves, about achieving goals, about being consistent and/or about our practices. And the important thing is not to learn and discard, but to learn and apply. So, what have I learned and what do I intend to apply?

  • No matter how careful I think I’m being with my hair, I can still be more gentle. I noticed that although I generally handle my hair gently, I can still do a little better.
  • Protein is just as important as moisture. I think omitting it entirely from my regimen resulted in set-backs and that my hair would be thicker if I’d been using it. So, I will definitely be listening to my hair and using protein treatments when necessary. I’m hopeful that this will result in an improvement in the overall density of my hair over the upcoming year.
  • I need to continue to work at being more consistent with my exercise routine and healthy eating. However, over the course of my 28 Day Project Scale Down, I realized that I can work-out and feel decent, even when I’m not eating perfectly. I haven’t worked out since last Tuesday, but will start up again tonight.
  • Project Scale Down taught me that even 10 minutes of exercise a day is worth doing and is better than nothing!

Rewards:
So, I said my rewards would be a blow-out on low heat for a length check for hair and blogging for fitness. Well, I already did a blow-out for my twist extensions and it’s obvious that I haven’t restricted my blogging if I didn’t exercise. So, nothing to see here! LOL!!

Welp, that’s that for me!! But, the updates are starting to roll in, so I’ll be posting them throughout the week and until you stop sending them to me! I hope that everyone will tell us a little about their experiences over the last six months (that’ll be a lot of updates!). Thank you to all who participated as it’s been an awesome ride and I can’t wait to start round two!!! Well, I can wait two months;)! LOL!!

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Breakage vs. New Hair: UPDATE!

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Tips and Tricks: Number Sixteen

This is just a quick post to provide an update and tip. Back in July 2011, I did this post on Breakage vs. New Hair. In it, I explained that I had experienced breakage in my crown in Jan-Feb 2010 and excessive shedding that began mid-2010 and continued through early 2011 (with a resurgence this past fall). So, I had a lot of short hairs and did some research to try to determine if it was due to breakage or regrowth. I suspected that it was new hairs though. Anywho, I shared the pic above to illustrate that post.

Well, yesterday, I was examining the same area of my crown and noticed that the hair was significantly shorter than the adjacent areas. At first, I became upset because I thought that it was breakage. Then, the memory of my old post hit me! So, I took a photo to compare what seemed to be the same area.

Well color ME happy!! It looks like I was a little further back then the first pic, but the hair slightly forward was even longer!  I’m pretty sure now that this was that same new hair that has grown rather than new breakage. Therefore, although I posted earlier today that my “W” shaped perimeter was indicative of a shorter crown, I’m comforted that this area is actually growing. I will continue to keep an eye on it and plan on testing Chicoro’s Lead Hair Theory by keeping my lead hair at waist length and seeing if the bulk of my hair, including the shorter areas in the crown, will “catch up” with it.

The Tip:
Photo documenting is invaluable! If you are concerned about a specific area or working towards a goal, pictures are a great tool that will serve you far better than memory. My immediate gut reaction to the shorter area in my crown was, “Dang!!  It’s breaking badly!!” But, having an older photo that I could reference saved me from the anxiety of contemplating a potentially drastic and unnecessary cut!

So, if you have hair goals, are working on building a regimen and/or are trying to determine what products and techniques work best for you, I’d definitely recommend taking pictures. And, don’t forget to date them! Fortunately for me, the blog is a FABULOUS log and photo journal:)! However, prior to that, I just used a Facebook album. So, do whatever works for you!

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Do you use photographs to document your hair journey, monitor the results of your regimen and/or product choices and/or evaluate progress towards goals? Any advice for those who’d like to start a photo journal?

The Take Down Begins

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It was a great run, but alas, it is time for it to come to an end. I was originally planning on keeping my twists in until the end of January. However, some recent plans for this upcoming weekend, as well as an increasingly ratty nape area and flyaway ridden halo, made me decide to begin taking the twists down on Saturday night. I plan on splitting the take down over a couple of days.

Matting:
In regard to the matting, I’m really a little mad at myself because I think that I did something that contributed to it. I also felt it happening a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t do anything about it. First, the way that I had the nape cornrowed did what I planned, it prevented the weight of individual twists from pulling out  my very fine nape hair. However, the hair still loosened quickly and the cornrows were very short. So, in order to provide a bigger base for the weight of the twists, I put 6 of the twists at my nape into 3 twists (twisting 2 twists into 1 twist, to make 3 total twists). So, those 3 twists got really matted together.

After taking a shower (which is why my hair is wet), I began to remove the twists, starting with the three at the center. I removed all three twists and then began to try to loosen the matted hair by massaging it and separating. Unfortunately, I had a very difficult time doing this and there was a little gunk (dust and oil) stuck in one section that I couldn’t release, even after applying some Aussie Moist conditioner. At a certain, point, I realized that most of the hair had broken and that the knot was only hanging on to about 4 or 5 strands of hair that were connected at the roots. I asked Wei to confirm this and he did. So, I decided to just cut out the knot at this point.

I seriously feel sick to my stomach about this, because it is about 5 inches of hair. I can’t tell if any of it is shed hair, though I’m sure some of it is. But I’m also certain that it also includes broken hair on my already shorter center nape section. These were the only twists that I removed thus far for which I had to resort to the scissors though. I also think that the nape is the worse area. However, I did learn some things as I removed these first several twists that I’ll apply when I finish the job.

Lessons Learned for Twists Take Down:

  • Afro puffy twists are very natural looking, but with that pro comes a con. It can be very difficult to differentiate between one’s own hair and the synthetic hair.
  • The ends of the twists tangle and knot, so I often had to break the knot at the end, praying that my hair wasn’t that far down. I think I was safe with the nape hair, which is shorter than the rest of my hair, hence the reason that I did that. However, when I remove the rest of the twists, I’ll really have to try to unravel the knotted ends instead of breaking them.
  • It’s best to release and detangle one twists at a time, massaging out knots, gunk and matting. I think that I might have saved the hair in those first released twists if I’d done this instead of releasing all three and then trying to detangle. I would always recommend detangling braid by braid, twists by twist, when removing extensions.
  • Make sure the twist and braided root are fully unravelled and released before trying to remove the extension hair. A few times, I tried to just unravel the twist and then loosen the braid to slide out the extension hair. Inevitably, the hair would catch, bunch and tangle around my hair as I tried to slide it out. So, I’d have to carefully try to untangle a bunched up mess.

Hair Plans for the Week:
So yeah, my plan is to finish taking out the twists at the back of my head tonight and hiding them with the top twists for work on Tuesday (I’ll make medium twists out of my own hair once released). Then, on Tuesday night, I’ll have to finish the job. Pray for me that I’ll have enough time to apply a pre-poo, wash and condition that same night. If I don’t, I have no idea what I’ll be doing Wednesday for work! Maybe I’ll be able to get the pre-poo in on Tuesday night and bun it for Wednesday. Then, I want to henna (roots only), DC and set in a TnC on Thursday! Good grief … I miss my twists already thinking about all of this!! LOL!!

Project Scale Down Update:
I’m down to 126 lbs and feeling better since getting back on the horse last Tuesday! My diet and exercise routine have been strong, I’ve resumed taking my pre-natal multi-vitamin, biotin and MSM and increased my water intake back to about 60 ounces a day. So, just going to try to keep all of that going!

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So, did you start or try anything new in the first week of 2012? What are your hair/fitness/life plans for this week?

Back on My Grind

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I NEED to get on it!! I don’t do New Year Resolutions … never have. But, after the holidays, I often have to do Post Pork-out Planning!! Lord y’all, I’ve really been horrible on everything since around Thanksgiving. I haven’t worked out, completely fell off taking my vitamins/supplements and haven’t been drinking enough water at all. Not surprisingly, the scale and my heart are showing it (and I wouldn’t be surprised if my hair will too if I don’t do some immediate remediation!)! The scale registered as high as 130 lbs last week, though “the visitor” was partly to blame … but not much! That’s a gain of 10-12 pounds!! I was as low as 118 at one point but try to stay around 120. I will say that it dropped back down to 126.5 yesterday, but was up to 127.5 again today. So some immediate action is necessary if I want to be 120 by the end of the challenge!

But, far worse than the weight gain, I’ve had about three significant incidents of rapid heart palpitations over the last week or so. If I don’t sit/lay down and begin slowly breathing in and out, I can’t get it under control and I start getting lightheaded and dizzy. And, it doesn’t seem like anything precipitates it! I could just be standing or sitting and talking, and it starts!! It happened yesterday while I was on line at the movie theatre with my friends (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol — not bad!). I had to sit down on the floor to get my heart rate back under control. This only starts to happen when my diet is horrible and I’m not exercising. I know … I know. I will be making an appointment to see a doctor about it. My grandmother says that she experiences the same thing, so I wonder if it’s genetic. Regardless, I will getting back on my grind, effective tomorrow.

That is the reason this post is so late in the day (comparatively). I had to hit the grocery store to re-up on the necessities. I reeeealllly hate grocery shopping! I avoid it like the plague and try as hard as I can to stock up on several month’s worth of everything that is relatively non-perishable or can be frozen. This enables me to avoid major grocery shopping months at a time. I only need to go for quick, one bag trips for fruit and, maybe, yogurt. I really need to look into one of those grocery shopping and delivery services. Ahhhh … how awesome are those? And they don’t seem to cost much either. Given that I always get the same things, it would be pretty easy for me and probably totally worth it. The one downside? I wouldn’t get to use my AWESOME Lean Cuisine Rewards insulated, zippered grocery bags!

How frickin’ cool is this? I have 3 of these bags and I want more as I needed one more today at the grocery store! As I have a TON of LC reward codes that I’ve yet to enter, I’m sure I have enough to get at least two more bags, plus some other stuff. Yeah, I should own stock.

Last update. I did the style above e to hit the grocery store after my sister sent me this TOTALLY cute pic via pininterest (she’s addicted now).

We are not even going to talk about the flyness of the layered patterns in this outfit and the nude shoes right now. Anywho, I was eyeing the style and tried to imitate it. I figured the front was just separated and brought to the front and made into a huge, flat, two strand twist. But, I can’t tell what’s going on with the back. So, I decided to put the back twists into about 6 big two strand twists and then “braid” them all together down the back. I wasn’t really loving that look though, so I fell back on my ol’ stand-by, pin-curled twists! And, I’m liking it!

So, think I’ll tie it down tonight with my satin-scarf to wear to work tomorrow. I’ll accessorize with another Dollar Tree find that I got today and that I’ll reveal to you guys with my Dollar Store Haul post later in the week;)!

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OMGosh!!! There’s only a month left in our Grow Out Challenge!! Can you believe it?!? I hope to get some updates from all of you! Let us know how you are doing! What have you learned? Were you able to be consistent in maintaining a regimen and how did it evolve over the last five months? Inquiring minds want to know!

Also, I know those who provide updates would love to hear from all of you! Leave a comment, like the post or give a rating if you like a GOC update! A word of encouragement and support is always greatly appreciated! Thank you all! 

Uneventful Hair Weekend … Yea!!

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Wow, I’m at a loss. Y’all pretty much know what I was up to last week … and this weekend was uneventful as it relates to hair. I didn’t do much with it other than put it into several large twists bound together at the ends with a Goody Ouchless elastic like I did here:

You see, I was going out to play two-hand tag football with friends on Saturday, so I needed it out of the way. It was chillll-eeeeeee, so I threw on my satin-lined Threadmill hat for good measure and hit the field. The last time that I played football, I was in middle school and got hit in the face with the ball, which broke my glasses. The lens popped right out of the frame. On Saturday, I got hit in the face with the ball again. No glasses this time though (thank goodness for contacts!). Oh, and the other difference from my football outing of 25+ years ago? I scored THREE touchdowns!! Wooh-hooh! LOL!

But goodness, let me tell you, football kicked my butt! I am still sore and stiff as all get out a day later! I passed out for several hours (after taking a couple ibuprofen) when I got home. I was trying to recuperate from the physically draining three hours on the “field” (i.e. the front lawn of my friend’s neighboring middle school). Later that evening, Wei and I hung out with several of the same friends at a local pub/restaurant, so I released the twists to wear them down. I sealed with some Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade (hmmm, love the smell) and massaged my scalp with a little of my essential oil mix and we hit the street! Needless to say, that comprised the whole of my Saturday and I spent Sunday fiddling around online, watching TV and working up a few posts for this week as my body continued its effort to recover.

As to the hair, being able to essentially do nothing with it and still look good is the reason I got the twists. I am loving the ease, look and versatility of this protective style. Come Tuesday, it will be two weeks since I got them done. I probably should have washed my hair this weekend, so that I wouldn’t need to do it during the week or wait until next weekend. Right now, those are my only options as it’s currently Sunday night and I have neither desire nor plans to do it tonight. So, I’ll have to regal you all with the story of my first wash day in Afro Puffy Twists at some later date.

Welp, that’s it for me. What did you guys do this weekend?

My Winter Afro Puffy Twists Regimen

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First things first, last week was horrendous for me diet wise. I was very stressed and I allowed it to cause me to stress eat, resulting in multiple fast food meals despite the fact that I re-stocked on my Lean Cuisines, fresh fruit, frozen veggies and yogurt last week. I also was drinking several cups of coffee and not enough water and failed to exercise, yet again. Finally, for the first time since December of last year, I went to bed without taking my vitamins/supplements … and, on multiple occasions (maybe 3)!! This cannot continue as it has an impact on my energy levels, feeling of well-being and my hair! So, Sunday morning, I went to hot yoga and am going again tonight. I was on the floor half of the class, but it was better to be there sweating and doing half the class than sitting on my butt at home. So, time to get back to The Rules.

On to hair. Okay y’all, I have some serious HIH (Hands in Hair) syndrome since I got these twists!! I keep wanting to play in them and try different styles!

Me likey, but NO BUENO! LOL! So, anyway, I love them and I also received a lot of compliments at work! Everyone is stunned by how light, soft and fluffy they are despite looking thick and heavy. I would definitely recommend this hair to anyone contemplating getting “kinky” twists. At $10 a pop, it is a lot more expensive than the Marley braid or kanekalon hair that you can probably get for as low as a $1.50 a bag. However, for me, it was worth it as they are so natural looking and light and don’t make my head hurt from the weight.

So, about my regimen, of course it has to be altered for the two months that I have these twists. I quickly realized last week that I must not forget that my hair, though somewhat protected, is in these twists. Therefore, I must handle them with the same care that I would if they were just my hair. I was finger combing through the twists after spritzing with Sally’s GVP Infusium 23 and feeling/hearing the individual strands pulling and tearing apart. Though I suspect that a lot of that was the synthetic hair, I really can’t tell the difference between it and the real deal. So, I knew I needed to start being far more gentle or risk the very manipulation damage that I got the twists to avoid.

My plan for my twist regimen is as follows:

  • Shampoo with a diluted shampoo (bi-weekly). I think that I’ll be revisiting the SheaMoisture Raw Shea Moisture Retention shampoo for this.
  • Use cotton swabs and witch hazel to cleanse scalp in between wash sessions, as needed (this will be based upon how my scalp feels and how often I’m doing hot yoga). For hot yoga on Sunday, I placed my hair in 7 twists, secured the ends to the crown of my head with mini jaw clips and then donned my Dri Sweat Edge headband. This worked well to keep the twists off of my neck and face, but kept the hair flat enough for me to lay on my back comfortably (even though it may not look like it ;)).
  • Deep condition with heat (bi-weekly).
  • Apply Kimmaytube leave-in conditioner (original recipe, with JBCO instead of regular castor oil) after thoroughly rinsing shampoo.
  • Seal with EVOO or EVOO/JBCO mix.
  • Moisturize with diluted Kimmaytube leave-in using a spray bottle and seal with EVOO or EVOO/JBCO mix (as needed, every 2-3 days).
  • Apply and massage essential oil mix into scalp (daily).
  • I just got my heat wrap from Curlmart last week and used it for about 20 minutes after moisturizing the twists and oiling my scalp to help the oil penetrate. I really liked that and think I may do it once a week.
  • Protect with satin pocket bonnet at bedtime.

So, that’s the plan. I was going to use the African Pride Olive Miracle Braid Sheen Spray, which I got as a freebie earlier in the year, as a daily moisturizer. It would have been cheaper and easier than the Kimmaytube leave-in. However, glycerine is the third ingredient, so that’s a no-go for winter. I may look around for another daily moisturizer and the regular African Pride Braid Sheen Spray may have potential. It has glycerine in it, but way down on the list of ingredients. The thing is, I’d like to use natural products and may try the Aloe Gro recipe that Her Best Hair posted about here. I read about this moisturizer on her site last year, but hadn’t gotten around to buying the EOs (sage, eucalyptus and peppermint) to try it. So, I may hit up out my local natural food store this weekend to see if they have these EOs and give it a whirl.

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Welp, that’s it on the homefront. What’s up with you guys? Anything new? Sticking with the tried and true? I’d love to hear from all of you! 

Weddings, Sleep and Research

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Yeah man … I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for a while now and was up way too late for far too many nights last week. It finally took its toll. Now mind you, I can sleep anywhere, anytime. It’s a Gillis family trait. We are professional sleepers. I’ve fallen asleep at concerts (Wynton Marsalis called me out at McCarter Theatre my senior year in college), in clubs with music blaring (at Wei’s 39th birthday party, I fell asleep on a couch on stage behind the band) and at HBCU Homecoming football games:

Why does he keep playing me out like this?!? *lol*

Yup. That’s how I get down! Anywho, I had a very nice time at my friend’s wedding reception on Friday, despite appearances to the contrary. Part of the fun? Having two very nice young ladies at my table who wanted to talk natural hair care!! LOL! Wei told me I wasn’t allowed to talk about work as several of my co-workers were in attendance. When I started talking hair, he said that was like work too ;). I told him, “Nuh-uh” and resumed the discussion on favorite products and PJism.

Anywho, I’m sitting here with slightly damp twists after a wash day using my newest acquisitions, the Doris New York Hair Care Line. A preliminary review of the Reconstructor Shampoo and Mud Minerals Pack Treatment will follow later this week. Since my hair hasn’t dried yet, I don’t want to be premature in giving my thoughts. However, I used the Olive Oil cream all last week and the leave-in on my prior wash day and those both worked very well. I used both again this wash day, so I’ll write more about them in the impending review as well.

On another note, I wore my hair down three days last week!! I KNOW!!! LOL! Since the excessive shedding is no longer an issue, it wasn’t driving me batty wearing it down. Also, I kind of wanted to enjoy it for a few days since I know that I’ll be in a protective style for 6-8 weeks very soon. However, I couldn’t be more excited at the prospect of Afro puffy twists! I really can’t wait to get my hair done now and just have to decide on exactly when I’m doing it! I’ll probably go one day in the first week of December. That is what the “Research” in the title is referencing! I’ve been online searching for information on maintenance and styling. Because, don’t get it twisted (Get it? *lol*), I will continue to wash and deep condition my hair every week to two weeks and will be moisturizing and sealing every couple of days. Don’t think that I’ll be sleeping on styling either … I may sleep on something else, but not that! Ha! LOL! Okay, I’m done now, I promise. So, yeah, I was searching on YouTube and found a video where a young woman with twists recommended loc videos, in particular BronzeGoddess01, for styling ideas. I watched a couple videos and they got me even more amped as I’ll get to play around with some styles that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish with my own skimpy twists!

I also really want to try a modification of the style that the model was rocking in this video that I posted on Saturday. So yeah, the twists will be debuting soon! Can’t wait! I think that I’m going to “blow out” my own hair using the tension method after first stretching it with twists or a flexi set. I plan on following the first two steps in CurlyNikki’s flat ironing tips, which were in her article,  Straightening Natural Hair. I read that grapeseed oil is a good heat protectant and I remembered that I have some ElastaQP Silk Thermal Designing Liquid under the sink when I hit Sally’s on Sunday. So, I think that I’m going to apply the oil first, then the heat protectant and set in twists until mostly dry. Then, I’ll use the tension method to finish stretching my hair. I want to go to the braiding studio with my hair as prepped as possible to avoid having someone go through my wet, curly hair with a fine tooth comb from root to tip. I already know that I’m probably going to have to be very firm in regard to telling them what I want and ensuring that my hair isn’t braided/twisted too tightly. At least this will be one thing about which I won’t have to worry!

Oh, and on a final note, I  hit Sally’s to use a 15% off coupon I earned with my Rewards card. Being the frugal individual that I am ;), I returned and repurchased the Gold ‘N Hot Bonnet Dryer that I bought in October so that I could save a few bucks! I also got some more purple flexi rods so that I can eventually try a full head set with them. Finally, I picked up some ORS Olive Oil Edge Control. I heard about this some time ago and remember reading that it worked pretty well. Any reviews ladies? Does it really keep the edges controlled?

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How was your weekend? Try anything new? Stick with the tried and true? It’s Sharing Time ;)!!!