Thursday, May 28, 2009

No Life Preserver or I Gave Up the Security Blanket


Ok, well, this week I have been trying to wear my hair "out" without accessories of any type. These are not limited to but include headbands, scarves, barrettes, click clacks, flowers, etc. It's hard for me to just wear my hair without feeling that it needs something.

How many ladies out there suffer from the "Security Blanket Syndrome"? How difficult was it for you to really give up accessories and feel comfortable enough in your hair that you don't need them? Well, it took me a total of 9 months. That's a pretty long time to be insecure about your hair.

Last week it started with me coming in to work with my hair "out" just so that it could dry, then I would put it up in a puff. Then one morning I literally forgot to put my hair up and people started coming in to work and complimenting my hair. Soooo, I decided to leave my hair "out". It wasn't as bad as I thought it would have been. It's even kind of cute. I just can't wait for my hair to get a little longer to see what it will really look like "out".

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm Optimistic About It

Well, if you've been keeping up, you know that I have jumped on the henna band wangon with my hair and it is in full effect! I henna'd twice in one week! LOL So I was all up in arms about losing the color I got from the 1st henna. Well it looks like my hair is continuing to evolve.


Here is are pictures of my hair from the 1st henna:














Here is a picture the morning after my second henna. Notice how much darker my hair had gotten.





Ok, two days after my second henna my hair looked like:




Ok, so it looks like it has gotten a little lighter and someone at work even noticed, so I guess I'll see. Although I am caught up about the color of my hair, right now my focus is to get my hair in the best shape possible.

Right now I have been conditioning my hair and testing out deep treatment recipes. Tuesday night I mixed up some HE Hydralicious, EVOO and honey. I put a plastic curl cap on and left it in over night. Was it soft? Heck yeah! My hair loved it, but I haven't found anything yet that my hair doesn't like. I have to admit, my hair behaves very well and I guess that' why it was so easy for me to relax my hair in the first place - because I got that bouncy, flowing hair you see in the commercials.

Well, now that I know better {than to relax my hair}, I am totally focused on getting my hair in good shape for the summer months. Much to my surprise, I found that henna is a good sunscreen for hair, so now it's not mandatory for me to cover my hair while I'm out in the sun this summer. However, I will still take precautions when I expose my hair to excessive amounts of sun.

Bring on the summer!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sad but true.

I'm having issues adjusting to the darker color that my 2nd henna imposed upon my hair. I like it, but I like the 1st color better. I'll even go so far as to say that I am saddened by the new darker color. That's right, I said it. I should have just left well enough alone. I'm wondering if I can even get my orange "glow" back in my hair. Since my hair isn't super dark right now, I feel like there's hope, but I'm not going to henna anytime soon. I'll wait until the end of the month or the beginning of June before I henna again.

I'm hoping that I'll get over this henna depression and just embrace the new color. Doubtful, but I'll try. You know, now I'm beginning to realize truly what that old saying meant: "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." I just should have kept my bird in my hand.........

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

And the winner is.......

Well, I did henna last night with the Mumtaz Al-Aroosa Henna. Here are my comparison results against the MDH Henna:



I used 200 grams and put it on pretty thick. This henna stayed dark green the entire time and it was hard to tell if/when the dye release occurred. The henna sat for about 12 hours before I applied it. As I was applying the henna I was a little worried because it looked different from the MDH Henna. This henna was super green! The MDH Henna was a greenish-brown after the dye release.



I left the henna on for about 3 hours with my heating pad and wrap. It took much longer to rinse the Mumtaz Al-Aroosa Henna than it did the MDH. I know I had to rinse for about 10 - 15 minutes just to get to the point of where the water was clear. There were still bits and pieces of henna and I could still feel some grit in my hair after the initial rinse.



Once the initial rinse was complete, I got into the shower to shampoo and condition my hair. With the MDH Henna I didn't need to shampoo right away because the henna rinsed away clean. The Mumtaz Al-Aroosa Henna did not. I shampooed and there was still a lot of debris left in my hair from the henna. As I conditioned, I still noticed tiny pieces of henna and grass coming from my hair.



On the bright side, my hair was super soft. It didn't take long to dry either. This morning when I got up, I rinsed my hair again and added some KC Knot Today and Curling Custard. I noticed my coils were not shrinking up as much, but I also noticed another color change. I liked my color better before this second henna. It seems as if my light streaks in the front are now gone or not as noticeable.



I just went outside to take some pictures. Let me see what it looks like.








Well, looks like the streaks are still there. I like the original henna color the best. I'll see if it brightens a bit after a few days. Maybe when I go back the the MDH Henna, I will get something similar to the original results.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Double Trouble


Ok, so I wanted to henna over the weekend but didn't and should have. I know - confusing already. I was too busy trying to see if I could find an Indian Market near my home that had comparable prices to Cherians in Decatur, GA. Well, I went to a market near my home but man!!! I don't know how they stay in business. They hardly had anything in there. I saw the henna and it was triple the price of Cherians. Soooo, I'll be making some monthly trips to purchase my henna in Decatur. (And I'm acting like Decatur is far, it's only 15 minutes from where I work - so dramatic. LOL) So, Friday morning I will be making a trip over to Decatur to pick up about 10 boxes of henna. I'm taking some home for my sister - yeah, she requested 4 boxes.


Ahywho, I'm gonna henna again tonight - hoping to "jump-start" the conditioning effects. Yeah, I know I just henna'd last week, so what! I'm ready for round two. I was away from home last night so I decided to bring my "supplies" with me and prepare the mix here at work this morning so it would be ready this evening. It's sitting under my desk right now near my space heater wrapped up in a sweater. LOL I can't wait to see the results from tonight.


I can definately tell the difference in my hair from the pre-henna days. My hair is really much softer and not as coarse feeling - if that makes sense. I mean it's so soft that it's scary. I have noticed more clumping and better curl definition as well. Since I have henna'd, I haven't used any curl defining product outside of Knot Today. No gels or puddings - I haven't needed them. I can't wait to henna tonight and see my results of the wash and go for tomorrow that will include a good co-wash, Knot Today, and Curling Custard. I'm thinking a record setting hair day is on the horizon!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Henna Experience.

Well, it's done, and I was about as nervous as <--- this guy while I was going through the process of hennaing my hair for the first time. I went through with it last night (May 14, 2009). When I got home I checked my henna mix that had been sitting for almost 12 hours. I took a quick shower so that I could wash and clarify my hair before applying the henna. I wanted to make sure there was nothing that would prohibit the henna uptake. I read that the hair should be free from oils and products for maximum henna penetration of the hair shaft and I wanted maximum benefits. What would a little 10 minute shower hurt in all of this? Sure it would prolong me getting to the "mess" of things, but I wanted to make sure this was done right.


After the shower and a light towel drying of my hair I applied the henna. The application process was pretty simple. I put on my latex gloves, got my applicator brush and went about it. It took less than 10 minutes to apply the henna. I used an entire 100 gram box for my hair and almost didn't have enough! I couldn't believe that I had used the whole mixture. My hair is a lot thicker than it looks.

After I applied all of the henna mixture, I wrapped my hair in saran wrap. I then placed a plastic cap over my head. After that, I went to my room and got my heating pad - placed it on high heat and tied that to my head and then wrapped my head in a huge bath towel.

Yeah, I know I look funny, but after almost 2 1/2 hours, I was done with my henna. I took off the towel, heating pad, and all of the plastic that wrapped the muddy paste onto my hair. When I slid everything off, my hair looked like this:



Pretty messy looking, huh? Well it really wasn't too bad. I went on to rinse the henna from my hair and the water ran clean after less than 5 minutes. I was surprised. I had read so many posts from other ladies who said they had sand and grit and twigs in their hair and it took them forever to rinse the henna out. I thought for sure that I had done something wrong and the henna didn't take. I mean, for one, I didn't buy the BAQ Jamila henna that I hear a lot of people talk about. My henna was purchased locally for a fraction of the cost that I have seen other people buy. When I mixed the henna, I heated my water. I didn't use ACV (apple cider vinegar), I used distilled white vinegar. Lastly, I didn't have difficulty rinsing my henna from my hair.

With all of those discrepancies, surely I wouldn't get the conditioning effects from the henna. But to my surprise, as I was rinsing the henna, I could feel my coils. I didn't feel a lot of frizz like I have in the past, I could feel moisturized coils in my hair. Ok, fine, but I still wouldn't get any color change, right............WRONG!!!!

When I went upstairs to my bathroom to check to see if there was a color difference, I couldn't believe my eyes. There I was with this vibrant black cherry hair. Shining little highlights were everywhere. Even my greys were covered. I couldn't believe it. I just stood there in awe of my new hair. It was soooo soft, and the curls were defined - without product. At first, all I could do was just look at my hair. I loved it. The more I touched it, the more I wanted to touch it.


I went on to add my Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner. I tried to put it on as thick as I could so that I could cover all of my hair since I heard that some ladies experienced a drying effect after their first henna. I left the conditioner on for about 45 minutes before I rinsed it out. My hair felt so soft while I was rinsing, and it continued to feel soft throughout the night. I even noticed that when I woke up this morning my hair wasn't as flat - even on the side where I had slept for most of the night. My hair also wasn't tight to my head (for lack of a better description). My hair just wasn't smashed. I didn't have horrid "bed head".

So, this morning I shampooed my hair and it was great. I added my Knot Today, put my clips in and headed out. I love my hair today. The henna experience was pretty good. I was concerned yesterday about how messy it would be, or if no color showed up....and I did all of that worrying for nothing.

It's true, what works for their hair may not work for your hair and I am a true testament to that. All of the "rules" and suggestions that I had read on all types of sites were great and informative, but I was still able to do it my way and get great results. I'm not saying that I totally disregarded everything I read, because I didn't. I used the information I came across as a guide. I improvised and made this experience work for me.




...and here are my final results:




Thursday, May 14, 2009

Henna Preparation Recipe


This is not my personal henna recipe. This was supplied by one of my hair inspirations - Spiral (from Naturally Curly & Nappturality). I copied this from the Naturally Curly website through the following link: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curltalk/showthread.php?t=28006&page=5


Any notes or personal changes to her original post is shown in green italics.


I used this information to mix my own henna except I didn't have any ACV so I used distilled white vinegar instead. I hope this doesn't kill me! LOL I also heated my water - not to boiling, but it was pretty warm. Form what I understand, that may make my dye fade over time. I am not concerend with that. I have plenty of henna, so I can always do another application if I want color.


1. Dump my henna in a bowl (I used glass).


2. Mix my acv with a cup of water (room temp. Some people add boiling water to get faster dye release, but it makes henna fade over time) (I may have messed up here - I heated my water on the stove, but it wasn't boiling. I just got it to a nice warm temp. Next time I will use room temp water if I will not be applying the henna for 12 hours. I'm not too concerned about the color, I am more interested in the conditioning effects of the henna.). Change the amount of water depending on how much powder you're using. You want only just enough water/acv to moisten all the henna.(also, I use only 4 tblsp of ACV {I used distilled white vinegar} for 200 grams of henna. And I probably don't even need that much to get dye release).


3. Add acv{I used distilled white vinegar}/water to henna and mix, add a little more water if necessary (just to be sure that there are no dry parts.) Don't add too much water/acv.


4. The henna should be very thick, like mashed potatoes, because the honey that you add later will thin it out.


5. Cover with cling wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 9 to 12 hours or until you see dye release. (It will be about 12 hours by the time I get home and start applying my henna.)


6. After dye release has occurred, I add my honey. I don't measure, I just add it until I get the texture I want - goopy, but not too thin, like extra thick pudding. The mixture will be silky smooth.


7. Then apply it very thick, like icing, and leave on for four hours minimum. The henna will pull your hair almost straight if you apply thick, like you should.


8. Wrap your hair around your head, and wrap your head in cling wrap, then put on a wool hat or wrap your head in a towel. Natural heat is important for getting the henna to take. So keep your head warm. Your head will feel verrry heavy,You may need to lie down and read a book or watch a movie. (I think I will sit with my heating pad on my head to see how that works for me.)
Ok, so after I got home, I showered, washed my hair with Nature's Gate Jojoba Shampoo to make sure it was all clean. I added some honey to the henna mix and stirred it in. I applied the henna mix to my hair using a large applicator brush. 100 grams was almost not enough for my hair. I was surprised that I used it all. After I applied the henna I wrapped my hair with the cling wrap - including the pieces that previously cover my henna mix. Then I put on a plastic curl cap. After that I tied my heating pad on my head, set the temperature to "HI" and wrapped a large bath towel around all of that and watched TV for about 2 1/2 hours before I rinsed.

Stop! Henna Time


Ok, well it looks like I am taking the henna plunge tonight. I bought my henna yesterday at an Indian store in Decatur and I mixed it this morning before I left for work. Yes, it was good and bright/pea green. When I mixed with the water and vinegar, the smell was like some grass or something "green" that you might be cooking on the stove like spinach or collards without the smoked meat. I had to use almost 2 cups of water for the 100 gram package.

It looks like some of the die released immediately. I stirred until it was about the consistency of mashed potatoes. When I get home tonight I will mix in some honey until it gets smooth and then I will slap it into my hair. Not sure how long I will allow it to stay on, but at least 4 hours. I might let it stay on all night and just get up early in the morning to rinse it out. Either way, I am excited about the experience.
I will post pics tomorrow - both here and in my Fotki album.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Products - Am I a junkie?

Ok, I don't consider myself an outright PJ (product junkie), but I am starting to venture out of my comfort zone. My goal is to find the best product for the least amount of money. Sure, when I started my napptural journey, I spared no expense, I bought the Kinky Curly line of products hoping for moisturized and defined coils and curls. Spending about $60 for 3 products. Seeing as how those products (at least the KCCC) lasted me for about 6 months - that's really not bad at all.

BUT, I have been reading and deciding to try different things. I will probably always have Suave Naturals Coconut in my stash. It's my basic cowash product. I love KCCC, but I found that although I don't like the feel of the Long Aid Activator as it goes on my hair, I do love how it feels after it has dried and how it keeps my hair feeling soft after I wake up in the mornings.

So, here are the products I use and my reviews/views of each one.


Shampoo

So, in my stash I have Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo. I probably will not buy another shampoo until I have finished this one. I'll be on the look-out for some reviews on shampoos though. Since I only shampoo my hair about once a month, It will be a while before I am on the search for another. If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.


Conditioners

Suave Naturals Coconut for cowashing, it's cheap and it gives plenty of "slippage". You know we need that for detangling our precious and fragile napps.

If I want to give my hair a little extra TLC in the way of conditioning, it's Herbal Essences Hydralicious! Yummy. Hydralicious is so thick and creamy and it just coated my hair and made it so soft. This will definitely be a keeper. I was even thinking about phasing Suave out and Hydralicious in as my permanent co-wash product.


Leave-In

I must admit, Kinky Curly Knot Today is superb as a leave-in. It gives great slippage, smells great, and helps with curl definition. As far as leave-in conditioners, this is currently the only one I use.


Curl Definers

My favorite to use is Kinky Curly Curling Custard. Not only does it smell like something you would love to eat, it defines my little coils like nobody's business! However, at $26.00 per jar, it's a little pricey - but this is an all natural product. It also doesn't take very much of the product. A little really does go a long way.

The next thing I tried was Fantasia iC Gel - Olive. This defined my coils, but I just didn't really like how it felt when I was putting the product in my hair. I still use it on very rare occasions.

I am currently using Long Aid Activator Gel. I don't like how this feels when I put it in my hair either, but, the outcome is well worth it. This stuff defines my curls & coils. I have even noticed it to give my curls some "swell". My hair remains moisturized and soft until the next morning. On day two, I never have to reapply more product except for in my "problem" areas. For the rest of my hair, I just wet it in the shower using my hands. Then I can just shake and go. I love it and it is a definite keeper.

If/when I find or try more products, I'll post my feelings on them.

My Hair - Getting Obsessed

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I promise to do better. My entire blog may shift the way of my hair! LOL Yes, I am getting obsessed with it. I'm buying books, products, reading, playing - all for the sake of my hair. So far I am not being outrageous as far as the money part of it, it's just the time I spend researching things I want to do to my hair.

I'll never claim to be an expert for anyone but myself, so as for the things I write here, take it as my experiences. Ask questions if you like and I will try to help anyone I can.