Tag Archives: aloe vera gel

(Hair) Lessons Learned 2013

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A couple of weeks ago, Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty did this post about what she discovered about her natural hair in 2013. I had been thinking about doing something similar and her post was the incentive I needed to write down my (hair) lessons learned.

As she said, these are things I learned about MY hair and may not apply to others. But, they are things that I found helped improve my hair and will hopefully allow it to get better in 2014.

So, here is what I learned in 2013.

  1. Inadequate consumption of water and dehydration is not only bad for the body/skin, but it can cause excessive hair breakage and shedding too. I had a bout of bad breakage last winter all over my head and I believe it was very much related to my unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, excess caffeine, and insufficient water consumption. My hair is recovering and regrowing, but the breakage was bad, creating a fuzzy halo of “flyaway” hair over my entire head. So, I try to make certain I get at least 48 ounces of water a day to ensure that I’m hydrated from the inside out. (Note: I’ll be doing a post on this topic soon!)
  2. My hair does better with wet detangling only. I lose a lot less hair and am able to detangle just fine without thoroughly finger detangling during a dry pre-poo. When I pre-poo now, I just smooth and smush the oil/conditioner down my hair with some minimal separation to make sure I coat each section.
  3. Using a comb and/or shampoo brush after finger detangling results in a less stressful detangling sessions the following wash day. It also makes for smoother, more defined braid/twist-out sets. So, I reincorporated these tools into my regimen.
  4. My hair LOVES goat milk in styling products and deep conditioner!!! My hair has been rejuvenated by it, especially my ends, which were starting to feel pretty rough. My stubborn crown has softened and become more supple and stronger!! My shedding and breakage have been drastically reduced. And finally, the straighter “tail” of my nape that used to hang now holds a curl when I set it on perm rods!! The goat milk DC has replaced Aubrey GPB as my light protein conditioner of choice (note: I also use Joico K-Pak conditioner on wash day, which also provides light protein).
  5. Cosmetic grade aloe vera gel works great for setting my hair in twist/braid outs and for smoothing/setting my edges.  It provides flexible hold and softness without product build-up. (I think this gel began to work well for me because my hair started behaving so well once I incorporated goat milk products into my regimen).
  6. The braid n’ twist n’ curl is my new go to style because the braids keep my roots smooth, but the twists gives me the fullness I desire. As the braid at the roots result in three sections once the set is released, I don’t need to separate my hair any futher to get fullness, which also means less manipulation and frizz. Also, the BnTnC dries more quickly than a braid out.

And that’s what I learned about my natural hair in 2013. Here’s to better hair in 2014! Onward and upward my friends!!

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What did you learn about your hair’s likes and dislikes in 2013?

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Aloe Vera Gel Braid-Out

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Okay y’all. I didn’t expect to be doing a hair post this week. But, I got such awesome braid-out results from my wash day this weekend, I just had to share!!! This may be my new regimen if it consistently delivers the super soft, light, defined, and shiny results that I got this time!!

But first, let’s talk about the state of my hair going into this. Dry. Crunchy. Undefined. Bushy (the bad kind, not the good kind). So, I knew I needed to do some rehab first. Therefore, I pre-pooed with an old fave combo that I seemed to have forgotten to use for a while (O_o) … Vatika Oil and Aubrey conditioner!! This time, I used Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose (HSR) conditioner as I was in need of some serious moisture versus the protein shot that Aubrey GPB would deliver. I usually mix the oil and conditioner together prior to applying. But, the HSR was an afterthought, so I ended up layering it over the Vatika Oil (I lightly finger detangled and then twisted my hair into 4 sections) and then applied my JBCO/EVOO/EO mix to my scalp.

prepoo_813Looked and felt better IMMEDIATELY.

I donned a plastic cap and my thermal heat turban for about an hour. Then, I left the plastic cap on and did some chores before hitting the shower about 3 hours or so later, I guess.

Now onto the dirt!!

WASHING and CONDITIONING

  • Shampooed with DevaCare No Poo. Rinsed.
  • Applied Joico K-Pak Revitaluxe Restorative Treatment (Gifted and then purchased. Review coming soon. Preview? LOVE at first sight!!). I smoothed it down length of hair and left it on for about 5-10 minutes. Rinsed.
  • Applied Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH) to finish detangling, first with fingers, then with the Ouidad Double Detangler. Rinsed.
  • Applied Sally’s GVP Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm (I forgot how good this stuff is to my hair!!).
  • Donned plastic cap and thermal heat turban for about 30 minutes.
  • Cooled (10-15 min) and sealed with diluted HE HH.

Next up, styling.  So, I was perusing YouTube videos over the weekend and came across this one about an amazing, soft hold braid-out with aloe vera gel.

via VeggieCurlDeelite

This is the thing, waaaay back in the day, I used this gel for WnGs with ho-hum results. It didn’t provide much hold or definition as far as I can recall. But, I have a huge bottle of it under my sink, because I usually mix it with my face lotion in the summer to reduce the oil slick down the middle of my face. So, I decided to break it out and give VeggieCurlDeelite’s (VCD)  braid-out a go with some of my old … and new … faves!!

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STYLING

  • Sectioned hair into four and worked section by section.
  • Applied about a marble-sized amount of Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in Conditioner, smoothing and finger combing it through the length of hair.
  • Smoothed about a marble-sized amount of Curl Prep Sweet Buttah (gifted) down section of hair.
  • Smoothed and finger-combed a marble-sized amount (or maybe even a little more) Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel down the section, ensuring hair coated (the gel seemed to add slip and aid detangling too!).
  • Placed front two sections of hair in 2 braids on each side and back section in 3 braids on each side for a total of 10 braids.
  • Lightly applied a little virgin coconut oil (VCO) to ends (last 3-4 inches) and rolled on small grey perm rods covered in end paper (I set my ends not only to curl them, but to keep them smooth, discourage knots, and to “lock in” the moisture).

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I tied my head down with a hair net to allow air flow, then hit the sack on an EboniCurls satin pillowcase. But, with only 5 hours and an a.m. workout, my hair did not dry in time for work on Monday morning. So, I just removed the rollers, pulled the braids into a low ponytail, and  threw on a headband to get out the door. I didn’t release my hair from the braids until Tuesday morning. But it was worth the wait!!

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Y’all … VCD was NOT kidding!!!! My hair was sooooo soft and silky!! I was suffering from some serious Hands-in-Hair (HIH) Syndrome!! I told at least three friends touch it, so that they could marvel over how soft it was ;)!! LOL!!! So yeah, this AVG combo looks like a keeper (I think that the DC might have had something to do with it too). Now, how it’ll hold up overnight and after daily, sweaty a.m. workouts? That remains to be seen. But, you know, I’m not expecting miracles. I may be in bun by the end of day 2. But, as long as it is still soft and moisturized, that’s okay with me!!

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Have/do you use Aloe Vera Gel to style your hair? If so, what brand do you use, how do you use it (with what other products) and how does it work for you (hold, definition, feel, appearance)?