Monday, February 28, 2011

3in6: Ending Month #1

See "3in6 Challenge" details here.

Okay, ladies, we are concluding the first month of the challenge.  Wow, how time flies.   My hair has been twisted the entire month; I spent almost two weeks in small twists then transitioned into bigger twists for two more weeks.  These big twists will stay in for another two weeks, and then I'll see what to do next.  Last week I retwisted the perimeter after a prepoo, wash, and condition.

In other news, yesterday I purchased avocados, spinach, and carrots to restock on vegetables.  I may try to get bananas later this week.

How did you ladies end Month #1?  What styles do you plan to do in Month #2?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Volumizing Shampoo GIVEAWAY!

 Shielo is an established haircare line that has become popular in salons across New York, Paris and Sao Paolo.  All products created by the company are sustainably sourced and cruelty free.  In sponsoring this giveaway, the company is offering a FREE Volumizing Shampoo to one lucky winner.

Product Description: This modern volumizing shampoo is designed to remove residue and product styling build-up, without stripping hair or fading color to provide an optimum environment for thicker hair. Fights free radicals that damage and weaken hair. The results are thicker, healthier, more beautiful hair.  (Click here for ingredients listing.)

So how do you enter the giveaway contest?  Well just leave a comment below stating how you feel this product will benefit your tresses.*   The entries will close on March 3rd at 11:59pm EST.  On March 4th, one luck winner will be announced.

*Only subscribers to (or followers of) the blog will be allowed to enter.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why Organic?

Here are some of the many reasons I prefer organic ...

10 Dirty Fruits and Veggies

Interview with a Fine-Haired Natural: Session II

3. What styles do you prefer to wear?

Currently my preference is for styles that have a lot of volume and texture because like many naturals, I prefer 'big hair'. Therefore, I usually am wearing a 'quick dry' braid-out, a flat twist-out/bantu knot-out combo, or a wash n' go bun. In the summer when the humidity does not allow me to stretch my hair, I prefer mini-twists since I can still enjoy the volume of my hair, and then unravel the twists after a week or two for a fuller twist-out.

4. How has being fine-haired affected you? What are the pros and cons to being fine-haired?

One con of having fine hair is that the density of your hair in its natural state does not always translate into fuller styles outside of an afro. Many of the styles I see may look great on the person wearing them such as medium twists, box braids, and twist and braidouts, but when I try them, they do not come out with the same lushness. I am now more critical of whether or not I decide to try a new style that I see on another natural and I consider if and how I can recreate it on my own hair. Another con is the problem of tangles and split ends. Most naturals have to pay special attention to their ends because afro hair is fragile, but it is at a different level of care when you have fine hair that is fragile and the ends can break and thin out easily. Finally, I find that my fine hair prevents my styles from lasting very long. My hair tends to frizz quickly in protective styles and styles look fresh for a maximum of one to two days before I need to re-set the style. However, this has been helped by using better styling aids and silk scarves to minimize frizz.
Some pros of fine hair are that the density is not the actual thickness so a daunting task such as detangling, putting my hair into braids after washing, or the drying time for a large mass of hair actually takes half as long as most naturals with coarser strands. Another pro is that I can achieve both a sleek look and a voluminous look with one style, such as my mini-twists before and after unraveling for a fuller twist-out.

5. How do you manage with fine hair?

I've learned my hair over the years and found some tricks and shortcuts to manipulate it into certain styles, but at the end of the day, I've found that working with my hair gets me the best results. I take advantage of my hair's shrinkage when styling for volume, frizz when going for a textured bohemian look, and lack of volume when I do not want 'big hair,' but would prefer a sleeker style.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Healthy Hair Feature: Chime

1) Are you natural, relaxed, texlaxed, or transitioning? (And, how long?)
I'm natural! I will be natural for 2 years on February 16, 2011.

2) What mistakes have you made in your hair care journey?
I really can' t think of any. I did tons of research so I never really made any mistakes. I just wish I would have worn my hair "out" more after I did the big chop. I wore protective styles (mostly twists) to make sure my hair would grow. I wish I would have enjoyed rocking my 'fro when it was shorter.

3) What is your current HEALTHY HAIR routine?
I co-wash my hair every two weeks. I only shampoo my hair every two months. I deep conditon my hair every time I wash it and seal it with an oil based product. I only use natural products and I sleep with a satin bonnet.

4) Do you have a HEALTHY BODY routine?
If so, what is it? I don't have one! :/ I know I'm terribe and I should work out. I do try to drink plenty of water and make healthier choices when it comes to meals, but as far as physical exercise, walking up the staircase at work is all I get lol I have been around the same weight since I was in high school. I think I have only have gained 5-7 pounds since then so I don't have that push to lose weight but I know I need to for my health. I have A.D.D. when it comes to working out lol I'll be so motivated for a couple of days and then I'll get distracted and it will die off. I need to add working out to my New Year's resolution list lol

5) Do you have any advice for those seeking healthy tresses? 
Do your research on healthy hair care. There is loads of information out there and do what you know you need to do in order to gain healthy hair. Stop making excuses as to why you can't stick with it. If healthy hair is something you want, make the necessary sacrafices to get it. Put away the flat iron and blow dryer and find healthy alternatives. Healthy hair isn't just going to magically appear; you must put in work.

6) You can find Chime on:
Fotki: Username - ManeChick (HairCrush)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yummy Yogurt Conditioners

Yogurt-based conditioners can make for a light to deep protein treatment.  Experiment with the recipes below (and be sure to blend thoroughly for those containing a banana as well).  Enjoy!

plain whole yogurt
lemon juice
vitamin E oil (optional)
tea tree oil (optional)
Recipe and Instructions

Recipe and Instructions

wheat germ oil
Recipe and Instructions

Recipe and Instructions

Feel free to share any of your yogurt recipes below!

Henna Melt GIVEAWAY Winner!

We have a winner for the Henna Melt Giveaway sponsored by The Hair SheBang

Thanks to all the ladies who shared how they strengthen their hair.

According the random number generator, our winner is commenter #17:

Congratulations, Nefertiti!! 

Use the "Contact Me" form to claim your prize. Please respond by February 20, 11:59pm EST.

Monday, February 14, 2011

3in6: Day Fourteen

See "3in6 Challenge" details here.

Hey ladies!  We are officially two weeks into the challenge.

After wearing small twists for nearly two weeks, I transitioned into my trusty, medium twists.  (Fingers only; no comb.)  Why the transition, you say?  It's been raining galore and ... rain + small twists + shrinkage = single-strand knots on my ends.  Yep.  They had to go.  For me, bigger twists work better at keeping single-strand knots at bay.  Eh ... it was fun while it lasted.

These larger twists will be in for a few weeks as I re-do the perimeter weekly after each wash.  You know the drill.

As for the rest of my update, I've been:
+taking my multi-vitamin
+eating my vegetables and fruits
+drinking my water

The scissors have been calling my name, so I hid them to minimize my temptation to further cut.

So ladies, how are you on day fourteen?  Any surprises or adjustments?

Interview with a Fine-Haired Natural: Session I

{Box braids}
This is session #1 of the interview.  Session #2 coming soon ...

1. How have you "faked the fullness" in protective styles?

The only true protective style that I wear is mini twists. To make them appear fuller, I do them on wet hair and twist loosely, or do them on damp hair and twist tightly. For wet twists, I do not twist my hair as tightly after initially securing the roots, so that my twists can expand as they dry. This means more shrinkage, but fuller twists. The goal in protective styling fine hair is to mimic the natural volume, shape, and layering of your hair when it is in an afro state so taking advantage of your natural shrinkage is key. As my twists dry and every 3-4 days, I stretch them in a braidout to get some length. With the length, I do a variety of down and up styles where I 'fan' out my buns to create an illusion of volume. I try to avoid bunching my hair up together into tight buns or updos so that the volume is not minimized.

{Super micro twists (LEFT) vs. bigger twists (RIGHT)}
For semi-protective styles such as braidouts or twistouts, I set my hair damp rather than wet, I separate my hair strand by strand when unraveling the style, and I sometimes 'bob' my hair to create fullness when wearing the style down. For braidouts, I use the "quick dry method" that I learned from youtuber CurlyChronicles. I set my hair in very large twists immediately after applying my leave-in and sometimes styler, then after an hour, I unravel the damp twists and let my hair naturally start to dry as I style section by section. By the time I reach each section, my hair is slightly damp, but still detangled and easy to manipulate. My hair is set in a braidout with volume in a matter of hours, but I usually take it out the next morning to get maximum definition. I usually create my twistouts from my 'quick dry' braid-out by dampening my hair with a spritz bottle and twisting medium size sections. If I am styling from wet hair, I will do a braidout that I will need to re-braid once more the next evening for fullness, or I do a flat twistout in the front and bantu knot out in the back to wear a pinned up bob.

{Today with longer hair
in micro twists}
2. How do you deal with scalpiness in twists/braids?

I have not mastered dealing with scalpy braids, which is why I do not wear them after several failed attempts. For twists, I simply have to make more of them where my hair is finest. For example, the sides of my hair are very sparse so those twists are usually half the size of the twists at the crown of my head where my hair has the most density. I have tried all sizes of twists and the best ones for my whole head are smaller or mini twists since they are able to show the 'natural volume, shape, and layering' of my hair. I now know my twists are too large when I wear them down and they mimic the natural layering of my afro, but not the volume or shape. Example: I turn to the side and the back of my hair is flat, rather than rounded out. Despite making my twists smaller, I still tend to have scalpiness near the front and sizes so I just do lots of side parts, middles parts, and bangs to cover any exposed scalp. For twistouts, I separate more as I mentioned above and I make an effort to blend any parts that show.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reader's Question: Healthy Bunning of Twists

Post inspired by a reader.  Thank you for your question.

For some ladies, buns can be a dangerous protective style (an oxymoron, but true).  The style can cause tension on the edges for those with a sensitive hairline (like me).  Meanwhile, those with fragile ends can suffer damage from repeated pressure via ouchless bands.  Even those with strong strands from root to tip can experience the dangerous side of buns when styled improperly.  To avoid these problems, find alternative protective styles (such as loose updos with jaw clips) or use alternative bunning methods such as the ones below:

Bun Alternative #1: The Kimmay Bun
Purpose: Less pressure on the hairline
See this video for details.  NOTE: If the banana clip is not your friend (i.e., too teethy), then avoid this style.
{Bun using a banana clip}

Bun Alternative #2: The Pinned Up Bun
Purpose: Less pressure on the ends
Step 1: Use jumbo ouchless bands as opposed to small ones.  Small ones tend to wear quickly and get caught in the hair.  I also find that the jumbo bands can go around the hair twice or thrice with less pressure and tension than the smaller ones.
{Small (top) vs. big ouchless bands (bottom)}
Step 2: Use the jumbo ouchless band to make a standard ponytail.  Then flip the ponytail upwards as pictured below.
{Flip the ponytail upwards and pin down}
Step 3: Use a large bobby pin (or a few small ones) to secure the tip of the ponytail to your crown.  (If you hair is longer, you may wrap the ponytail around a few times before securing the tip.)  Use a few more hair pins to secure any stray hairs stemming from the bun.  NOTE: Do not pin the very tip of the ponytail.  Pin about 1-2 inches from the tip, then tuck the tip under the rest of the hair.
{Large bobby pins}

{The finished look!}

Friday, February 11, 2011

Short Twist/Braid Styles: Part III

Cute, professional twist and braid styles for shorter hair.  The 3rd in a three-part series.

The style: Flat-twisted Twists, French-braided Twists, etc.

Duration of wear: your choice
Great for: 
+working with your scalpiness (if any);
+creating the illusion of length;

How to (recommended):
1.) Start with a set of neatly parted twists.  This pre-step is important for those with with fine hair and/or scalpiness.  When twisting, do neat and defined parts.  Then proceed to the next step. (Those with thick hair may fair fine with "grab and go" twists.)
2.) Take several rows of twists and flat twist each one into your desired style (e.g., updo).

Amp it up a notch:  If you know how to flat twist or cornrow loose hair, then go ahead!  Mix up your style by flat twisting or corn rowing the sides or front of your hair and then two-strand twisting the remaining section.  (To learn how to flat twist, check this earlier post.  The videos included there taught me how to flat twist!)

Amp it up further:  Add a cute hair clip and put on your favorite sparkling, studded earrings (or bold long earrings) to transform your day look into night.

Two-strands Flat Twisted #1:

Two-strand Twists Flat Twisted #2:

Regular Flat Twists (or Cornrows) into Twists:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Healthy Hair Feature: MsKibibi

{Length retention from wearing wigs}

1) Are you natural, relaxed, texlaxed, or transitioning?

... If texlaxed, what is your method?
My stylist texlaxes my hair now but when I self-texlaxed, I would do the half and half method. I did not add anything to the relaxer, but I reduced the relaxer time and did not smooth or let the relaxer just sit on my hair.

{Current length}
2) What mistakes have you made in your hair care journey?
The biggest mistakes I've made was usually the result of me diverting from my usual routine. I had a major setback when I tried to dye my hair black with henna and indigo. It was a disaster. Also, not doing a strand test before I tried new products all over my hair. I've had allergic reactions to hair dyes (which was why I tried henna/indigo) and even some shampoos. Also, not paying attention to ingredients. I had protein overload once because I use 3 protein products on the same wash day. It was another time that I didn't follow my usual regimen.

{Scalp shot of waistlength hair}

3) What is your current HEALTHY HAIR routine?
I'm doing my winter regimen right now, which entails me wearing a wig. I wash, and deep condition weekly, moisturize daily with a liquid moisturizer. My regular routine is pretty much the same except I use a creamy moisturizer daily instead of a liquid moisturizer.

4) Do you have a HEALTHY BODY routine? If so, what is it?
I need exercise to be fun and challenging so I don't get bored. Hence the gym is not a viable option for me. So I take ballet classes, horseback riding lessons and play tennis (when the weather permits). I also try to eat a balanced diet and take vitamin supplements.

{Winter wig}
5) Do you have any advice for those seeking healthy tresses?
Write out a regimen and be consistent. The best thing you can do is be consistent with your regimen. The one method that I believe people overlook is moisturizing their hair daily. Regardless of whether your hair is natural or relaxed, we can all use more moisture.

You can find MsKibibi at: My sister is also a guest blogger and she has natural hair.

For My Fine-Hair Ladies ...

{2008; First career; big chop; believe it or not,
my hair still shrinks up to a TWA-ish size if I allow it.}
Bear with me.  These next couple of weeks are insane outside of cyberspace.  In the meantime, check out these youtube videos of fine-haired women in twists.  Feel free to ask them questions as well.  (I have a possible fine-haired interview coming soon as well):

Braiding twists forward for volume: Niafloda
Pinned up bantu knots for volume: blackhairchronicles

And as one of my awesome fine-haired subscribers came to realize, perhaps focusing on accessorizing is best.  Though I'm not fine-haired, I understand what it's like to work with what you have (for me, it was and has been crazy shrinkage).  Sometimes it's about the accessories!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Henna Melt Giveaway!

The owner of The Hair Shebang has graciously offered two ROOI Henna Melts for this giveaway.  These melts are easy, ready-to-use henna treatments molded into beautiful rosy heart shapes, rectangles or squares. They are perfect for those who are shy when it comes to experimenting with henna or Ayurvedic powders.  The ROOI ones, in particular, yield beautiful, wine burgundy highlights.

So how do you enter the giveaway contest?  Well just leave a comment below stating how you strengthen and protect your tresses.*   The entries will close on February 14 (Valentine's Day) at 11:59pm EST.  On February 15, two lucky winners will be announced.

*Only subscribers to (or followers of) the blog will be allowed to enter.

About The Hair Shebang:  
"one-stop shop for all your haircare needs, from shampooing to styling! This shop will cater to those who wish to use all-natural products for their skin and hair, as well as finding supplies for DIY (do-it-yourself) haircare and maintenance. Although hair products are our niche, many items are multipurpose, and can be used on the body, hands, feet and face."

Homemade Shampoo Recipes

Recipes that are less stripping than your average shampoo, yet cleansing.  Many of the ingredients below can be found in health food stores.

chamomile tea (or fresh chamomile flowers)
pure soap flakes
Recipe & Instructions

distilled water
soapwart root
lemon verbena or catnip
Recipe & Instructions

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Short Twist/Braid Styles: Part II

Cute, professional twist and braid styles for shorter hair.  The 2nd in a three-part series.

The style: Mini/medium box braids (pinned to the side)

Duration of wear: 3-4 weeks (recommended)
Great for: 
+minimizing shrinkage; 
+minimizing knots; 
+strands that unravel too easily in twists 

How to (recommended): Do on dry, stretched hair to show more of your length.  (The hair does not need to be blow dried or flat ironed.  Airdrying in plaits or twists is sufficient.)  Apply a butter and/or gel on the ends for a natural curl or coil.  The other option is to perm rod the ends.  NOTE: The box braids do not have to be mini; you can make them a little bigger to save time.

Amp it up a notch:  Once your box braids are complete, flat twist a few of them on the sides to create a beautiful updo (see this video). Another option is to use bobby pins instead.

Mini box braid styles:

Mini box braid tutorial (4a/4b):

Mini box braid tutorial (3c/4a):

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Healthy Hair Feature: Janet

1) Are you natural, relaxed, texlaxed, or transitioning?
I am natural. I was a long-term transitioner from 2004 to early 2006 and have been fully natural since early 2006.

About Janet's color ...
I have all-over color…triple processed. I maintain my hair through hard protein treatments (such as Aphogee 2-step), deep conditioners, and steam treatments.

2) What mistakes have you made in your hair care journey?
I have only truly been on my healthy hair journey for coming up on a year and thus far, I cannot say that I have made too many mistakes. Thankfully, being a part of hair forums has helped me to avert major crises, but I will say that one should think carefully about coloring hair because you must be ready to baby it for the next year.

3) What is your current HEALTHY HAIR routine?
I try to wash my hair every 7-10 days. I either deep condition or moisturize pre-poo every other wash. I do a hard protein treatment every 6 to 8 weeks (as needed). I use Hot Six Oils (love the ceramides in it) as a moisturizer. I love coconut oil and will be incorporating it more during these Winter months. I also utilize low manipulation styles (such as wash and go ponys, twist-outs, rollersets, etc) as a way of protecting my hair.

4) Do you have a HEALTHY BODY routine? If so, what is it?
I wash my face every morning with Yes to Cucumbers Calming Gel. I get a massage at least once a month because I feel that beauty definitely starts from within and massages help relieve stress and tension built up. I am not quite a vegetarian, but I do not eat beef or pork (and haven’t for several years). I wish that I could say that I exercise on a regular basis- that is one thing that I would like to increase for 2011. During the Spring/Summer months, I like to walk outside…but during the Winter months, I am more dormant.

5) Do you have any advice for those seeking healthy tresses?
Seek out hair forums…There is so much information out there, I found that hair forums have everything you could ever want to know in a centralized location. Also, the ladies on the forum are so knowledgeable and sweet.

Start small…Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say…One cannot go from neck length to waist length overnight; take your time and enjoy the journey.

You can find Janet on:
Long Hair Care Forum - Janet’
Twitter: baby2steps

Short Twist/Braid Styles: Part I

Cute, professional twist and braid styles for shorter hair.  The first in a three-part series.

During my 2nd year natural: Co-washed micro twists after airdrying (left) and micro twists pinned into a style (right).
The style: Micro/mini twists; "wet-n-go" micro/mini twists
Duration of wear: 2 weeks max if your hair locs easily
Hair type: ideal for the tightly curled to the kinky (like me)

How to (recommended): Do on damp hair to achieve volume.  Do on mostly dry, stretched hair for length.  Apply a butter and/or gel on the ends for a natural curl or coil.  "Grab and go" as you twist.  There is no need to make neat parts for this particular style.

Amp it up a notch:  I call this the "wet-n-go" twist set.  Wet your twists every 2-3 days. Apply a light conditioner first, then let the water run through the strands without manipulating the hair. Afterwards, spritz with a water-oil based moisturizer or a leave-in conditioner. Your natural coils or curls will come to life and your hair will be more voluminous. (The micro twists help kinkier strands to "clump" together and form coils on the ends.) That's it! Add a headband, pin to one side, or put on cute earrings to accessorize.

If you're prone to single-strand knots: After wetting, apply perm rods, band, or cornrow the twists until dry. Unravel for a stretched but curly look.

Mini Twists:

More Mini Twists:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Coming Soon ... Short Twist/Braid Styles

Hi ladies,

I've been receiving a couple of comments about twist/braid styles on shorter hair that are actually cute and/or professional.  Starting Friday, I'll do a three-part series on the topic.  In the meantime, here are some tips:

-rock your twists/braids under a wig
-accessorize with beautiful earrings and makeup
-rock your twists/braids under a cute beanie or hat
-slip on a cute headband or scarf
-rod your twists/braids for a voluminous, curly look
-flat twist or cornrow into twists/braids updo

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Healthy Ice Cream Alternative

A tasty, healthy alternative to ice cream.  More protein.  Lots of fruits.  No growth hormones.  Watch the video for the recipe:

3in6: Day One

See "3in6 Challenge" details here.

Alright, ladies.  The challenge has begun!  I'll check in with you every 2 weeks.  Now for Day One:

I actually did my length check last week, and I am about 3.5 inches from layered waistlength.  Should this challenge go well, I'll be 2.5 inches closer to my goal come August 1.

This past weekend, I put my hair in small twists after a wash and detangling session.  My goal is to wear them for 4-6 weeks, with bi-weekly to weekly washes.  (For my twist Q&As, check the Twist Series.)

In terms of fruits and vegetables, I stocked up on carrots, spinach, red lettuce, tomatoes, and bananas for now.  (Read more about carrots here and green vegetables here.)

{Small twists (done with real hair)}
So ladies, what is your goal for the challenge?  What long-term protective styles are you rocking?


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