Saturday, September 28, 2013

Healthy Hairstyling #7: The No/Low Heat Roller Set

High temperature flat irons. Hot blow dryers. Direct heat has the potential to be damaging to the hair, especially when used improperly and too frequently. In the worst case scenario, irreparable heat damage can occur in the form of hair bubbles, splits, and loss of one's natural curl pattern.

The roller set, perm rod set, flexi rod set, straw set, and Curlformer set are all healthy alternatives to the blow dryer and curling iron. These sets require minimal (if any) heat usage. They can be worn on both natural and chemically straightened hair.


- Snap-on or clips with Magnetic rollers (safer than mesh and foam)
- Setting lotion
- Smoothing serum (with dimethicone for anti-humidity)
- Medium-tooth comb
- Hooded dryer (optional)

Basic instructions:
1. Wash, deep condition, and detangle as usual.
2. Follow up with a moisturizer/sealant.
(2a. For kinky natural hair: Braid the hair into 8-15 sections. (I do this to "flatten" my roots and hair a bit.) Wrap your edges with a scarf. Allow to airdry until damp. Then undo a braid and proceed with below.)
3. Section off a 1" by 2" or smaller section of hair.
4. Apply setting lotion (diluted, if necessary).
5. Then apply the smoothing serum.
6. Comb through section until smooth.
7. Roll the section tautly down to the roots.
8. Repeat steps 3 through 7 until finished.
9. Let the roller set airdry or sit under a hooded dryer.
10. Remove rollers when hair is fully dry.
11. Similar instructions apply to other types of sets (e.g., straw, flexi-rod, etc.), though more intricacy is involved.

Rollerset Video Tutorials:
Natural with a great roller set technique. She does use direct heat in her later video, but her curls prior to flat ironing are gorgeous and show that roller sets work on textured hair:

* Sets last longer on cool, moderate days rather than hot and/or humid days. Save them for ideal weather conditions.
* Starting with wet to very damp hair allows for the hair to really set.
* Using a serum helps to minimize frizz from humidity.
* Stay away from moisturizers containing glycerin or other humectants, if you can. Humectant + humidity = a roller set that won't last.
* Roller set in small sections for smoother and faster drying sets.
* I get the best results with snap-on magnetic rollers because the "snap on" part keeps my hair taut and the roller intact.
* Pin curl at night to maintain the set.
* Smaller rollers yield tighter, longer-lasting sets.

Serum Recommendations:
Sabino Moisture Block
Chi Silk

Setting lotion:
Motions Foaming Wrap
Nairobi Wrapp-It Shine Foaming Lotion

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hair Diary || More Highlights + Finalizing My Adjusted Regimen

So, I think I've mentioned this before, but I was a color freak during my relaxed days.  (And being a color freak during that time usually damaged my hair until I switched over to doing highlights as opposed to full-on dyeing.)

Fast forward to now ... the color freak is back.  She first emerged in late 2010 with the red highlights.  Then she re-appeared this summer with the ombre effect.  Quickly bored with the ombre, which didn't take too well (it looks more pronounced in photos), I decided to do blonde highlights.  Unfortunately, after 50 minutes, the result was a mere copper, but it's growing on me.  I foresee more highlighting in the near future.

As for finalizing my regimen?  I'm currently experimenting with an adjusted protective style routine.  If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that I spent the past few years wearing twists usually every 4 weeks back to back.  Now I'm toying with wearing twists for 3 weeks and an unseparated twist-out for 1 week.  This month is my second run in a row.

And now for more hair pics:

First day in new set of twists.  (Early September.)
Starting week #2.
Twists have shrunken and been washed (using the scalp method).
In the middle of week #2.
Prepping for highlights by undo-ing a few twists near my part.
Highlighted sections are covered with foil to separate from the rest of my hair.
Copper color after 50 minutes.  (Was going for blonde, but hey.
Maximum allowed time on the box was 45 minutes.  I didn't want to go too much over.)
The color I used: "7G, Lightest Blonde".  
I'm toying with using a bleach kit (more effective) in the future but I'm still researching the adverse effects of that.  Clairol Textures & Tones is actually one of the safest dyes when it comes to natural hair. 
My strand test turned blonde.  However, I looked at it after a couple of hours.  I'm not quite sure at exactly what point in time (definitely after 50 minutes though) that it turned this color.
Highlighted sections are twisted back up to blend in with the rest of my twists.
Highlighted sections are twisted back up to blend in with the rest of my twists.

Mixology || My Latest Whipped Shea Butter Recipe

So I've been mixing my own whipped shea butter since going natural (for over five years now), and it has gone many a transformation, usually for the better.  Below is my latest recipe that I use it to seal my hair after a fresh wash and condition.  (I actually eyeball the portions but will do my best to give you actual ratios based off memory.)

½ cup shea butter
¼ cup aloe vera gel
1 tbsp safflower oil (or oil of your choice)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp honey

Break the shea butter into small pieces and place in a bowl.  Using a hand mixer, whip the shea butter until fluffy and the chunks are gone.  (If your shea butter is too hard, melt it only slightly to soften it a bit.)  Add in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly with the hand mixer.  Finito! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Protective Style Lookbook || Classic Summer Updo

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

Model: Nyla K

Difficulty level: 2/5

Description: Elegant updo on a twist-out, braid-out, or other textured hair.

Healthy Recipes || Coconut Milk Popsicles

{Image from "This Rawsome Vegan Life"}
All you need are coconut milk, a natural sweetener (e.g., cane sugar, agave, date paste, or bananas), frozen fruit of your choice, and an herb (optional).  

For the full recipe, visit This Rawsome Vegan Life.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hair Diary || Updated Washing Frequency with New Exercise Routine

So for the past few months I have been working out more regularly than I usually do - at least 3x a week.  (Check out this previous post for details.)  That being said, I have come to terms with the reality that I have to up my washing frequency.  Previously I could go as much as two to four weeks between washes, but now?  Now, I'm going weekly at the maximum.  I just cannot deal with the idea of having a sweaty, bacteria-laden scalp for much longer than that.  I'm also not a fan of the witch hazel routine (though I kind of used to be) to keep washing at bay.

Anyway, with this new washing frequency, I cannot keep my twists in for longer than three weeks (or they'll lock up on me), but that's honestly okay and has worked out fine thus far.  (I wore twists for about two to four weeks -- usually four -- with my previous regimen.)

And now for more hair pics:

After washing twists. (8 days later.) Edges re-done after wash. 
Wrapping up week #2. (13 days later.)
Wrapping up week #2. (13 days later.)
Twist-out after about 3 weeks in twists.  (Worn for a few days.)
Finger detangled, washed, conditioned, sealed, and stretched (via rollers).  
Worn like this for a day or so, then re-twisted.
Re-twisting. Bigger sections.

My Top 4 Favorite Hair and Body Oils!

Coconut oil.
I use it to pre-poo and in my shea butter mix.  It helps to protect my hair against damage and dryness from washing.  It also helps to minimize breakage (during manipulation).

Safflower oil.
Very inexpensive yet effective.  I use it in my shea butter mix and on my elbows and knees.  I also use it to moisturize my face at night before bed.  It helps to keep my skin and hair smooth.

Olive oil.
I use this in my shea butter mix and have used it mixed with conditioners.  It enhances the moisturizing/sealing properties of the mixture.  I also love this oil for cooking since it is a healthier option than many other oils.

Grapeseed oil.
I use this in my shea butter mix and on my face (at night) during the winter.  It protects against moisture loss.