Tag Archives: damaged hair

Another Dream Deferred


I’m a little bummed. You see, I thought that I was finally going to get a real haircut this weekend and I planned to surprise you all with the results today. But, to my disappointment, my appointment had to be cancelled unexpectedly.

So, instead, I’m here telling you about why I was soooo looking forward to this cut. First, it was with Tameeka of Jaded Tresses, who cut my hair like this in the summer of 2010:

See how loose my “curls” are here? This is the henna loosening
that has all but grown out, except for the last 6″ or so of my hair.

Back then, I told her that I liked big hair, that I wanted to keep as much of my length as possible and that I wanted a slight layer in the back and some long layers around my face. That’s exactly what I got. So, I trust that she will, 1. Listen to my concerns and honor my requests, 2. Give me as close to what I want as possible.

Second, this cut is long overdue. I had a small trim (about an inch on the longest areas and less that on the shorter lengths) a little while ago, but that really didn’t do enough. In fact, I think the way that it was cut may have caused even more unevenness than I already had. My last significant haircut was in February 2011. Since then, I’ve just been doing S&Ds to get rid of SSK and split ends. Between that, varying growth rates, different curl patterns and breakage in my crown, my perimeter has become an irregular mess! It’s usually not too noticeable, because I wear my hair in updos most days of the weeks or TnCs when it’s down. However, I really want to revisit WnGs as my weekend style this summer. I also want some layers to break up the curtain of hair around my face and to add some volume. I mean, have you seen what layers did for Curly Nikki and Antoinette of Around the Way Curls?

Alas … it was not meant to be … at least, not this weekend. Instead, I had to look at my scraggly ends and dream of the day when they would be a memory of the past. Since I can’t tell you about my wonderful new cut, let me give you a brief recap of wash day and share pics, so that you’ll understand my pain.

If you recall, I applied a pre-poo of Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner (AO HSR) and Vatika oil the Sunday before last and placed my hair in 4 twists. Yeah … I didn’t take them out or wash my hair until the following Saturday … morning … ish. I decided to try the Aubrey Green Tea Shampoo, which is lathering, but sulfate free, to clarify my hair in prep for the big day. I diluted it with water in a dye applicator bottle and applied it to my scalp where it created a very rich lather. I squished it down my twists and rinsed. Then, I whipped out the Aubrey Green Tea Cream Rinse and diluted that in water, as well, before applying. Unfortunately, I ran out and ended up grabbing a couple of other conditioners to finish the job of detangling (side note: My detangling session was a little rough as my roots were pretty matted … I wonder if they would have been as difficult to get through if I had used the diluted DevaCare No Poo?).

Once I finished detangling each section, I re-twisted and then rinsed with cold water under the tub faucet. Next, I hopped out of the shower and used a Curl Cloth to blot dry and then wrapped around my hair to sop up the drippies. When my hair was barely damp (15 minutes later), I applied AO HSR as my leave-in and placed my hair in twists that I sealed with my JBCO/EVOO mix. (My plan was to stretch my hair so that it would be easily detangled when it was wet again for my cut on Sunday.) Later that evening, I oiled my scalp with Wild Growth Hair Oil (WGHO) and applied a little WGHO Light to the length of my twists.

Again, I was very pleased with how much fuller my twists are appearing and how my hair feels strong, but soft. I also think my shedding was not bad given that my hair was twisted up all week.

Anyway, so I was really looking forward to Sunday … then, I got the e-mail that advised me that my appointment had to be cancelled because of an emergency. *sigh* Oh well. So, on Sunday around noon, I released my twists to find a very defined and shiny twist out … with sad, scraggly and crazy looking ends.

I really should have set them on rollers the night before, but was just too lazy to do so. Ughhhh … like seriously, as I’m writing this post and looking at this pic, I’m thinking, “What the heck?!? Maybe I should chop it all off!!” But, I know that the gappiness is partly attributable to the tighter curl pattern in my crown and the longer section under the crown. I also know that, with a little fluffing, it really isn’t as bad as it looks above.

But man, most of this excess length really needs to go and some layers around my face will deal with that henna loosened section on the left. I think that my “lead hair” is more than 2-3 inches longer than the bulk of my hair and it’s driving me crazy seeing it like this. I also think that my crown area needs to be trimmed neatly as all of the irregular lengths are resulting in more tangling. I read this post on BGLH.com recently, 7 Tips for Repairing Crown Area Thinning & Breakage, that indicated that it’s important to keep the crown area trimmed and as neat on the ends as possible.

via blackgirllonghair.com

If your hair is layered, you really want to make sure that the ends that are originating from your crown are kept neat. Uneven, splitting or otherwise frazzled hair easily tangles itself and can lead to a cycle of crazy breakage. Hairs should be able to move freely past other hairs without “catching.” This “catching” can lead to breakage in and around the crown area of the head.

I’ve had my share of crown area breakage issues! What I ended up doing was isolating my crown area and trimming it down to a blunt length. It was much shorter than the rest of my hair, but the trim allowed me to focus on the area—to treat it separately and to comb it separately until it improved.

So, all that being said, I’m really hoping to get this appointment re-scheduled soon so that I can debut a fabulous rear view to you guys in the near future!! Although I like the volume the extra length gives my buns and updos and I feel that the hair is pretty healthy, I know that I’ll be happier with a fuller and more even perimeter. I also know that it’ll grow back by the end of the year and I think that it’ll be thicker, fuller, curlier and even healthier because of the tweaks I’ve made to my regimen.

With that, here are a few pics where I twisted my ends together to help blend them better. It’s a technique I use to stretch the curlier areas and curl the straighter ones to create a similar wave. Sometimes it works … sometimes it doesn’t. But, I liked these pics because you can see the great definition and shine that I got from the twists with only AO HSR as a leave-in. I definitely think all of the AO products have had a hand in giving my twist and braid outs better definition and have also resulted in my hair drying far more quickly!! Again, Aubrey Organics is a keeper!!


Would/have you sacrifice(d) healthy length for a better cut/shape?

The “B” Word


by Sawah of Discovering Natural

I’m talking about “Breakage.” We’ve all experienced this at one time or the other.  But do you know the difference between Breakage and Shedding? I was totally clueless about this prior to transistioning.

When I was relaxed, I would have a lot of hair breakage and over the years, I thought that was normal. I just thought if you comb your hair, you should experience seeing hair left on the comb or brush. I didn’t realize that there was such a thing as shedding.

Let’s understand the differences between breakage and shedding.

What is Shedding?
Hair that has been shed is one that has come to the end of its life cycle. It usually contains a white bulb at the end. This is normal. Research as shown that we shed an average of 50-100 hair strands per day.  Sounds scary, huh? Well, new hair is suppose to grow where the shedded hair was.

What is Breakage?
This is the process of the hair breaking, not at the root, but somewhere in the strand of the hair.  It is not normal because in all cases the hair has not gone through the normal hair life cycle.  Breakage can occur from mishandling of hair, lack of proper nutrients, or excessive styling.

When hair is deprived of proper moisture, breakage can occur. It is very important to keep your hair properly moisturized. Daily moisturizing and weekly deep conditioning will help you with breakage. Try to use water-based products, because these products provide the best moisturizing agents. Don’t forget to seal your hair with some oils or cream.

In addition to moisture, you will need to strengthen your hair strands. This can be done by adding protein products to your hair routine. Protein is known to help rebuild weak hair strands. There are several protein treatments products that you can use. It is important to properly follow the product application instructions.

Mishandling of hair can also cause breakage. I notice less breakage when I do not use a comb on my dry hair.  If I want to comb my hair post wash day, I spritz some water mixed with a little leave-in conditioner and carefully either finger comb it or use a wide-tooth comb. On wash days, I always finger detangle my hair with some oil or conditioning product.

When styling your hair, try not to pull too much at your edges. The edge and nape of your head are more prone to breakage. Keeping hair in a pony tail all the time can cause breakage at the point where the hair is gathered together.

When you understand the difference between hair breakage and shedding, it will help you address the problem and keep your mind at rest in determining what steps to talk to minimize breakage.

How are you handling breakage?

Technical Difficulties … Please Stand By


… and the mighty power of the natural hair blogger.

Okay, not really. I’m just tired y’all!!!! LOL!! I have TONS of GOC submissions, several guest features and a few hairstories waiting in my e-mail for you. So, if you’ve sent me something, thank you and don’t worry. I probably have it as there are about 60 flagged e-mails in my inbox!! But, I was just soooo exhausted after getting home from work at 8 p.m. after sitting with a regulatory proposal for 3 hours. I just couldn’t. My mind was shot and I only had enough in me to reply to comments and create a Facebook album in response to concern that I have heat damage from getting my hair pressed in February. I wanted to to demonstrate why I don’t believe that is the case as my hair is pretty much the same as it always has been, though longer.

As I indicated in the comments on Terressentials Mud Wash: The Newly Initiated, my nape hair is fine, of thin density and almost straight.

The crown is the curliest part of my hair and the curls in the lower half of my hair are significantly looser than the top due to over-zealous hennaing in 2010. I also experienced “The Great Shed of 2010,” which I attribute to an allergic reaction to amla. So, I believe that my “new growth” is denser than the length of my hair. Finally, when you add in my shorter crown area, I have an irregular perimeter that forms an inverted “W” if I let my hair do its own thing. Anywho, the album was to show the difference in textures and my fine/low density nape. Now that I think about it, I’ll have to take pics of showing the length of my crown area hair compared to the sides and middle nape. So, ultimately, I don’t think I need a cut to get rid of heat damage. I do need a trim to bring my longest lengths a little closer to my shorter. But, I will not be evening my hair out as I’m still testing the Chicoro Lead Hair Theory.

Now, back to the “non-technical” difficulties;). I hope to put together a couple of the GOC contender posts for you guys tomorrow and throughout the rest of the week. However, I’m not sure when I’ll get in tonight as I’ll be heading to a Brooklyn High School to be a guest at a Natural Hair Workshop. I hope that goes well!! I’ll take pics and, you know, in a month or two, I’ll do a post about the event;)! LMBO!!

Okay, that is all. Gotta do my Abs of Steel and then get ready for work. The exercise routine has also been a mess and a struggle. But, I’m determined to get it back together as I have a goal and great motivator coming up this summer, which I’ll share in my own GOC submission!

Lata Gatas!!

Breakage vs. New Hair: UPDATE!


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!


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?

Moisture & Protein: Finding the Balance


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 ;).


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

Crown of Glory … or Thorns?


Tips & Tricks: Number Nine

I often hear and read many naturals complaining about the hair at the crown of their head. “It’s dry, it’s brittle, it’s dull, it’s coarse, it breaks easily, it’s the kinkiest hair on my head, it’s the hardest to handle!” And, I’m no different. The hair on the left side of my crown is always shorter and more prone to damage than the rest of my hair, always seeming to exhibit breakage and straggily (yes, straggily, it’s a word! ;)) and raggedy ends. Now, I’ve come to learn over the years that this is most likely due to the fact that the hair at one’s crown is usually taking the brunt of the elements, you know: sun, wind, rain, cruddy air and free radicals;). I also always just thought that this exposure simply resulted in a raised cuticle and more porous strands, whereas the hair protected by the crown hair is smoother and far more cooperative.

So, when I started reading hair guru Chicoro’s Grow It! and came to the section on “Damage from the Environment,” I was fascinated to learn that the damage caused by exposure to the elements is a lot deeper than a simple mechanical reaction. You see, Chicoro breaks down that hair exposed to sun without protection actually undergoes a chemical and irreversible change! As you know, the sun can be damaging to the skin due to Ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB. Well, these same UV rays can be damaging to hair and Naturallycurly.com provided an informative post on this topic several years ago.

via NaturallyCurly.com

Most of us are familiar with the lightening of our hair that occurs when we spend hours in the sun in the summer. To many people this is even a desirable side effect of sunbathing. However, this effect is evidence of the destruction of pigment in the hair as a direct result of UV-induced oxidation of melanin particles in the cortex. …UV radiation also can cause cleavage of molecular bonds in the hair, ultimately leading to fracture of the cuticle and the cortex. This can lead to dry, brittle hair, rough texture from damaged cuticles, split ends, and breakage.

However, in my opinion, Chicoro takes the information provided here one step further and actually discusses how the effects of the sun are very similar to those caused by bleaching the hair. She states, “Like bleach, the oxidizing rays from the sun can break down, or change the chemical composition and the components of the hair.” She goes on to indicate that hair contains a chemical group called a thiol group and these groups stabilize the hair by forming disulfide bonds, which contribute greatly to the strength of the hair (Google “hair and disulfide bonds,” you’ll see many articles about the manipulation of disulfide bonds in chemical processes like body waves and relaxers). These thiol groups also make hair slippery … and we know how important slip is. However, once the hair is oxidized by the sun, these bonds actually turn into compounds called sulfonic acids. These acids are sticky and hair with them will tangle more readily. And, that’s never fun. Finally, she drives the nail home with the fact that this change from disulfide bonds to sulfonic acids is permanent.

So, what does all this mean to those of us challenged by recalcitrant crown hair? The simple answer? Prevention and remediation. For “new” hair that hasn’t been excessively exposed to the elements, we need to proactively protect it before damage happens. For older hair that has already undergone this chemical change, we need to take remedial actions to reduce and/or eliminate the resultant effects of damage. In practical terms, this means employing some combination or all of the following techniques:

  • Condition, condition, condition … did I mention condition ;)? Deep condition with moisturizing treatments, as well as effective protein treatments that support the keratin in the hair, based upon your hair’s needs.
  • Moisturize to protect the hair from the sun and combat dryness.
  • Use leave-in products, such as conditioners, stylers and/or sealants, with UV protection (the NaturallyCurly.com article linked above provides a great list of ingredients that are UVA absorbers).
  • Seal with butters and/or oils that offer natural UV protection, such as shea butter or hemp seed oil (I haven’t vetted this info, but found two articles that provide lists of oils that offer sun protection and their corresponding SPF levels. See here and here).
  • Use protective hair coverings like hats and scarfs.
  • Employ protective styling techniques which reduce the amount of hair exposed directly to the sun.
  • Don’t use peroxide or products with drying (non-fatty) alcohols. And please, whatever you do, don’t use lemon or other “sun activated” lightening products on your hair (flashing back on my “Sun In” days!! *shuddering*).

And, don’t forget, just because you can’t see the sun, doesn’t mean you are not being exposed to damaging UV rays. Though the days may be darker as winter approaches in many areas, we must remain vigilant nonetheless (the suggestions above are for cold and windy weather too!). As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


What is the state of your crown?

ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor


As you know, I’ve been experiencing some breakage and decided to revisit protein treatments after an eternity of not doing them. You see, although I only learned of the theory of protein sensitivity last year, I knew something in certain types of conditioners targeted for relaxed, damaged, ethnic hair made my strands hard to the touch and rigid in movement. And, I didn’t like that. So, I’ve pretty much avoided them my entire life, even when I was relaxed.

Protein Sensitivity: A Misconception?

However, after Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty did a couple of posts about protein treatments, describing their purpose, how they help her hair and how to properly use them, I realized that I might have given protein conditioners a bad rap. She did this post, The Shocking Truth About Protein, which was very informative and stressed something that I’ve never read before about protein treatments. They must be followed by a moisturizing conditioner! Well, why didn’t they say so?!?! Until reading this and the instructions on the 2 Step ApHogee treatment, I’d never seen a protein deep conditioner include directions that it should be followed by a moisturizing one! I have read about moisture and protein balance and that it’s easier to correct over moisturized hair with a protein treatment than to correct a protein imbalance with moisturizing treatments. However, I still didn’t put two and two together in that a protein treatment should be immediately followed by a moisturizing conditioner.

Revisiting Protein the “Right Way”

So I decided to take a leap of faith and give protein a shot at the title. I picked up the ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor and used it last Wednesday. I wanted to wait until I manipulated my dry hair before giving you all my review. Let’s start with a breakdown of the ingredients, claims and directions:

Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Behenamidopropylamine Behenatem Stearolkonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cocodimonium Hydrolyzed Hair Keratin, Hydrolzed Mucopolysac Charides, Sodium Coco Collagen Amino Acids, Wheat Germ Fatty Acids, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Arachidonic Acid, Squalane, Avocado Oil, Acetimide MEA, Panthenol, Wheat Germ Oil, Jojoba Oil, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sulfur, Amodimethicone, Polyquaternium 10, Linoleamidopropyl PG Dimonium, Chloride Phosphate, Tallowtrimonium Chloride, Nonoxynol 10, Cocoyl Sarcosine, Sorbitol, Fragrance, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben (emphasis added).

What They Say: Apply on clean hair in shower and rinse to treat brittle hair with cuticle damage and moderate breakage. ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor is a powerful, one step treatment that should be used for home use, between salon visits. This concentrated blend of keratin amino acids, botanical oils, and vitamins does wonders to restore strength and softness to hair that requires a deep, penetrating treatment. It is recommended on tinted, bleached or relaxed hair. ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor helps repair damage caused by chlorine and hard water. It soothes irritated scalp and may be applied following each shampooing until the healthy condition of the hair is restored.

Directions: Gently shampoo hair with ApHOGEE Shampoo. Rinse thoroughly and towel as usual. Squeeze 1/2 ounce into palm. Using fingertips, work evenly through hair and into scalp. For maximum penetration, cover hair with warm towel, or plastic cap, for two minutes.

I highlighted the two “hydrolyzed” ingredients because I recently read this BGLH post, All About Protein Treatments, that stressed an effective protein treatment must contain hydrolyzed proteins as those are the only ones that are the correct size to adsorb, yes adsorb, to the cuticle and patch areas of damage. Adsorb, with a “d,” means it “sticks to and forms a temporary bond.” So, when I was looking for a protein treatment, I was reading the ingredients to look for this. The article also indicated that the hydrolyzed protein should be in the first five ingredients. It actually is the 6th and 7th in this ApHogee treatment. However, since I had read reviews of this product and have seen a lot of people use this over the last year on the hair boards, I figured they fell high enough to be effective. Also, two hydrolyzed proteins at the 6th and 7th positions made up for it not being one at the 5th in my mind!

2/25/12 Edited to add: I pulled the above ingredients list from Sally’s and the same was at Folica. However, when I inspected my bottle due to some comments below, the ingredient list was different! The formula I used is not the same as above. The protein falls at the 7th and 8th positions, mineral oil is at the 5th and there seem to be many other ingredients. I can’t find the ingredient list that matches my bottle online. So, I will update with the actual ingredient list from my bottle when I have time. Sorry for any confusion ladies!

My Review

Okay, now that we have all that out of the way, I’m finally going to give you my review!! So, I used the ApHogee last Wednesday on wash day. I popped it open and took a sniff. I expected a chemical smell, but was pleasantly surprised when it had a light fruity scent, kind of like piña colada to me! After shampooing and rinsing my hair, I applied the ApHogee liberally. The directions indicated to use 1/2 an ounce. However, I suspect that I used closer to an ounce given the length of my hair. The treatment was a translucent white color and the consistency was about that of a lite salad dressing. It wasn’t thick, but it wasn’t overly runny, so it was easy to apply and distribute. I was careful not to manipulate my hair too much and just smoothed it down my hair in 6 sections. I left it in about 10 minutes, though the directions say 2-5. This was not intentional, I was just making my DC to follow the ApHogee, so ran over the 5 minutes.

Once I finished making the DC (warmed JessiCurl Weekly Deep Treatment w/coconut oil, olive oil and honey), I rinsed my hair thoroughly with lukewarm/cool water. Of course, I immediately noticed that my hair felt harder, but it also felt heavier. Then I gently applied my DC. I left that in for about 30-45 minutes with heat and rinsed (I did my entire wash day rituals in the kitchen sink as I had no interest getting in and out of the shower that many times!). Then I styled in the TnC that I posted about here.

What I noticed about the styling session and completed style was that my hair still felt harder than usual and wasn’t as shiny. So, I was not sure if I deep conditioned long enough. It wasn’t super hard though and some olive oil cooking spray helped with sheen, so I kept it moving (Rece also told me later that night that it won’t feel as soft as normal after a protein treatment, even with a moisturizing DC. She said, that’s why she used to alternate ApHogee with the ORS Olive Oil Replenishing Pak). In regard to decreased breakage during wet styling, I can’t give you a read on that because I can never tell. However, I can tell you now, a week later, that I have definitely seen an improvement!! I did a dry twist out on Wednesday night, after 3 days of the TnC and 3 days of an updo. I dry detangled my hair and though I saw a couple of broken hairs, it wasn’t as much as I’d been seeing. I could also tell that my hair was withstanding the manipulation a lot better. It really did feel stronger! But here’s the real kicker. I know this is not supposed to be connected, but y’all, my hair shed after a week of not doing my hair was NOTHING for me. I was astonished by the little amount of hair that I saw!

So yeah, I’m kind of sold now. I definitely think I will be incorporating a protein treatment into my regimen every 6 weeks or whenever my hair seems to be breaking easily when overly soft. Okay, gotta go! I’ll leave you with the results of my dry TnC!


Have you avoided protein because you believe that you are protein sensitive? Do you think that you’ll revisit the use of protein if you are experiencing breakage?

October Giveaway Reminder! *CLOSED*


We only have a little over a week to go in the month! So, don’t forget to submit your HairStory, Style Tutorial or Product/Tool/Accessory Review to be entered for your chance to win one of three copies of Chicoro’s Grow It! and a bottle of Dabur Vatika oil. Check out this post for details about how to submit your entry!! Good luck!

Dryers, Protein, Twists and Kettlebells


My do for the week! Buns, buns and more buns!

Hey all you lovely ladies!! I just wanted to give you an update in regard to my … well … hairscapades last week! LOL! As you already know, I had a busy four day weekend and didn’t do much with my hair. I wore it in a bun all week. Buuuuut, I did make a few purchases, so I should have some reviews for you soon!

First up, as I mentioned last week, I picked up a Gold N’ Hot bonnet dryer from Sally’s for about $40 after reading Marsha’s review of it.

I’ve been in serious need of a dryer for almost a year now! My hair NEVER dries overnight and my dryer wasn’t cutting it, even after two hours under it! So, it’s been a big headache when trying to do TnCs, braid and twist-outs (I wouldn’t even contemplate a roller set!). I’ve been eyeing this salon dryer on wheels for a while. But, I’d have to buy it online ($128; free shipping though!) and I was worried about whether it would be worth it as the only review I’d been able to find was the one that prompted me to search for it! I didn’t savor the thought of having to pack it up, trek to the post office and pay return shipping. I also wondered where in the world would I store it! So, when I read Marsha’s review, I figured, “What the heck?” With the Gold N’ Hot, if it doesn’t work, I’ll just go around the corner from my house and return it! Low risk baby. I plan on giving this joker a whirl on Tuesday or Wednesday night for a TnC set in preparation for the Curly Nikki NYC Meet-Up! Review to follow!

Next, I’ve been experiencing a little more breakage than normal and I don’t like it! I’ve always avoided protein-based deep conditioners marketed for relaxed, textured hair. I didn’t know what the problem was, but I knew that they always made my hair hard. So, last year, I came to the conclusion that I’m protein sensitive after learning there was such a thing! I’ve relied on henna to act as my strengthening treatment as it’s my understanding that the plant resin bonds to keratin in the hair to fill in gaps in the cuticle similar to the way that protein treatments do. But then, it hit me, I haven’t been doing full strength henna treatments on my length since the beginning of this year due to curl loosening! Also, after reading and learning more about protein, I’ve come to realize that using a moisturizing DC after a protein treatment should restore pliability and softness to the hair. So, while at Sally’s, I decided to also pick up two protein treatments in order to begin experimenting with them. I’ve noticed that a lot of people use the ApHogee Two Step Protein Treatment. But, given that the directions indicate that you have to allow this to dry on your hair until it hardens and to avoid any manipulation, I thought that might be a little too strong for my hair and needs. At least, I thought, I don’t need to go that hard with my first protein experiment. So, instead, I picked up a bottle of the ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor.

Also, since I’d read some good reviews of it, I purchased an Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) Olive Oil Replenishing Pak. It indicates, “Helps Restore Moisture & Rebuild Damaged Hair.”

I wasn’t sure if it was a protein conditioner because of the “moisture” part. However, I was pretty sure I’d read reviews indicating that it was. So, when I got home, I did some research and found this recent post on bglhonline.com about protein treatments that indicates one should look for “hydrolyzed” proteins in the first five ingredients for a true and effective treatment. I checked the ORS to find hydrolyzed collagen as the fifth ingredient, so I feel relatively confident that it is a protein conditioner. I decided to check the ApHogee too. Oddly enough, a hydrolyzed protein wasn’t in the first five ingredients! However, the sixth and seventh ingredients are hydrolyzed keratin and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (with some other long, chemical words that I don’t feel like re-typing!). So, I figure it probably should be decent too. I’m not sure which one I’ll try first, but I plan on using one of them, followed by either my JessiCurl Weekly Deep Treatment or Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner, this Tuesday or Wednesday when I wash my hair for my TnC set. I may not do a moisturizing DC after the ORS if my hair feels soft after rinsing. Anywho, again, reviews to follow!!

Finally, my last hair related purchase of the week was five bags of the Nafy Collection Afro Puffy Twist hair!! After two months, the distributor contacted me to tell me that it was finally back in stock, but he had a limited amount! Actually, I initially inquired about the New Nubian Twist hair that I told you guys about here. However, I was concerned that the hair might not look natural. So, after seeing this picture on the distributor’s Facebook page and asking him about what looks more natural, I decided to go with the Afro Puffy Twist hair in 1b.

The plan is to get my hair in puffy twists in November sometime. I’m still not sure where I’m going to get them done as I’m really wary of most braiding places. I also don’t know whether I’m going to trust someone to blow out my hair or if I’ll do it myself. Maybe I’ll try a Curlformer set to stretch it if the new dryer works well? I don’t know! Anyone have suggestions for a good heat protectant? Ugh. I really wasn’t planning on blowing out my hair until the end of this challenge. It’s been a year now since I last did it. But, I really feel like I want to give myself a little break with doing my hair and am looking forward to being able to leave the house in the morning without worrying about styling!

So finally, last week was an okay exercise week. I got in two interval sessions on the treadmill and two kettlebell routines (one 12 minutes and one 40 minutes). I would have liked to get in another day to make it five in the week (not including last Sunday, when I did do hot yoga), but four still wasn’t bad given that I was in the city all day, every day, from Thursday to Sunday and spent the majority of it on my feet. Anywho, I’ll definitely be reviewing the Lauren Brooks Kettlebell DVD, the good and not so good, this week. So, stay tuned for that too!


What “acquisitions” did you make last week? Thinking of experimenting with anything? And, where are my FB Fitness Friends ;)?!? 

Jamaican Black Castor Oil Protein Conditioner


pin curls

by Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty

I rarely write two posts in a day. I don’t want to overwhelm your Reader/Email nor do I want to burn myself out.  However, this one I couldn’t wait to share.

I started to entitle this post, “Da Bomb Diggity Protein Conditioner.” Then, I figured I needed to be a little more professional :-)

I almost couldn’t help it though.  I am from New York and we say things like “Da Bomb” all the time. Well, at least we used to when I was growing up LOL. The “diggity” was for my extra added enthusiasm.

Anyway, I am too excited about a new protein conditioner I bought. After using it, I was amazed at the fast results.  Not only was my hair instantly stronger with virtually no breakage after using it. It was also left pH balanced! How do I know? Because of the way my hair curled right up!

best protein conditioner

I’ve always struggled with straight ends. After reading some things about the hair’s pH balance (plus watching this video), I’m convinced that an off-balance pH balance may be the biggest culprit of my straight ends.

I try so many products at times (the PJ in me), that it’s highly probable that many of them have messed with my hair’s pH balance. Hmmm, time to tame the PJism.

So What Is This New Protein Conditioner?

Jamaican Black Castor Oil Protein Conditioner

It is Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black Castor Oil Protein Conditioner (you can find it here).  I’m telling you this stuff is friggin’ amazing.  I absolutely love how my hair felt afterwards. Strong and easy to detangle after applying diluted Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (another staple).

Check out the ingredients: Mayonaise, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Vitamin E, Avocado Oil, Mustard Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Lavender, Pimento Oil

All natural. Double score. The only thing is it smells like pickles. I can deal with it though because the results were so awesome.

A New Hair Care Regimen

staple hair care items

One thing I know is my hair likes protein. However, it needs moisture to balance out the protein. Because I’m natural, I don’t think I require protein treatments every week.

This new JBCO protein conditioner has changed my life (OK that’s a little extreme but you get the picture). This is a new staple for me and is being incorporated into my hair care regimen. It’s changed everything and comes at a good time now that we are entering the colder months when the hair needs more protection.

On Wash Day

  • Pre-poo hair with Vatika and Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) the night before washing. Leave in hair overnight.
  • Wash hair in 4 twists with Shea Moisture’s Hair Thickening Shampoo
  • Loosen the twists and deep condition with either the JBCO protein conditioner or Shea Moisture Hair Mask with honey added. I’ll be alternating these every other week so I don’t over-protein treat.
  • After deep conditioning with heat for 45 minutes, I allow the hair to cool for 15 minutes
  • On cooled hair, I apply diluted Herbal Essences Hello Hydration and finger detangle before applying leave in conditioner and sealing (It works well. Read why I use this technique here)
  • Apply Kimmaytube Leave In Conditioner and seal with JBCO.
  • Style as normal

NoteHenna and Zizyphus are still in my regimen for once a month.


Thanks for the review Michelle! I’ve avoided protein conditioners as I do experience that dry, brittle feel from protein laden products. Also, since I henna once a month, I think of that as my strengthening treatment. The thing is, I don’t do a full strength henna on my length anymore! And, I’ve noticed more breakage than normal. So, I’ve been really paying attention to your posts related to curtailing breakage and what is giving you results. So, expect to see a post soon on my recent purchases!