Monday, May 30, 2016

Mid-Year Hair Resolutions

The below are my mid-year goals. My hair rests at 20 inches (mid-back length) and I am trying to retain the last three inches that will get me to waist length. I want to achieve waist length by December. My end goal is tail bone length (tbl) hair at 29 inches.
It might be difficult to tell where exactly the waist, hip, and tailbone are so I use the above pictures for reference. In my opinion, where these markers fit on me is as in the pictures above:
BSL (bra strap length): the top of the bra strap
MBL (mid back length): the bottom of the bra strap
WSL (waist length): where you bend sideways
HL (hip length): pelvic bone
TBL (tail bone length): right above the butt crack
CL (classic length): right below the butt
1.) Hair Scissors and NOT Snapping By Hand. Snapping off slips and single strand knots causes more splits and damaged hair.
2.) Full Deep Conditioning Detail (drying it enough before I apply the deep conditioner. Then I let the conditioner sit for 30 minutes and warming it using my body heat) I use a moisturizing deep conditioner once a week.
3.) Upping my protein intake. I'm a vegetarian and I need 36g of protein (You measure your protein intake by multiplying your weight in kilograms with 0.8 more information can be found here and you can use the protein intake calculator here). When you are on a healthy hair journey, you need to be as healthy as possible. Vitamins, nutrients, and water go to the vital parts of your body first before it goes to your hair and nails. If you are lax in keeping up with your nutrition, then your hair will suffer. Moreover, your hair is made of protein. It is in fact dead protein. You need to make sure you are getting adequate amounts of protein to keep your hair in good shape.  At the moment, my protein shake (Spiru-tein) has 6.25g of protein. I want to try a higher protein shake so I'm going to check out

Warrior Blend Plant-based Protein. I tried Spiru-tein for the spirulina, but it does not disclose how much spirulina is actually in the shake so I'll just take spirulina as a supplement. Anyway, WBPP vanilla flavor has 19g of protein, much more than Spiru-tein's 6.25g. 

4.) Vitamin Intake. I'm trying out Mielle Organics hair vitamins and GNC Ultra NourisHair vitamins.  A long with these, I take omega 3 pills and my protein shake has the same nutritional supplements as a multi vitamin.
5.) Protective styles during the week, low manipulation styles during the weekend. Protective styling as pigtails (braids to minimize single strand knots). Low manipulation styles as perm rod updos (stretched to minimize single strand knots). I get single strand knots easiest when I wear braidouts, twistouts, and wash n gos because my very curly hair wraps around itself.
6.) Keep up with the Monthly Search & Destroy Sessions. After each session, my hair gets noticeably less single strand knots and it is easier to deal with.
7.) Increased water intake. I want to make sure I get 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water a day, so I need to make sure to drink 50 oz of water. Drinking water leads to moisturized and healthy hair.
8.) Exfoliate Scalp 1x Week. A clogged scalp can lead to thin hair, growth retardation, and increased shedding. I will make sure to exfoliate my scalp before I shampoo once a week.

Do anyone else have Mid-Year Hair Resolutions?
Would you join me in following these resolutions?
Who else is with me to get the three inches for the last 6 months of this year?
This picture was taken November 2015. Hopefully WSL will take me to the line there.

Happy hair growing!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Scalp Health is Just As Important As Hair Health

My friend Clarisa Reese asked me a question about scalp health. She believes correctly that scalp health is important for hair growth since hair grows from the scalp. If your scalp is damaged, then that could retard your growth.
Growth Retardation
   Practices such as braiding tightly and itching your scalp can damage your scalp and retard your growth. When your scalp feels itchy, you should use the pad of your fingers to rub the infected area. Do NOT use your nails. Conditions such as dandruff and a dry scalp could also affect hair growth. For these, I recommend a medicated dandruff shampoo or shampoo with tea tree oil (such as Trader Joe's Tea Tree Shampoo) for the dandruff and an oil mix for dry scalp problems. I have an oil mix that I keep in an applicator bottle. The tip lets me easily apply it to my scalp. I mixed in jojoba oil, peppermint essential oil, olive oil, Mielle Organic's Mint Almond Oil ,and castor oil. Peppermint essential oil has been shown to increase hair growth (shown in this study), and jojoba oil matches the natural sebum that our scalp produce. Because jojoba oil is expensive and peppermint oil should not be used by itself, I mixed it with other oils that are also good for the scalp and that can lubricate it to prevent dryness. I make sure not to be heavy handed when I apply it to prevent my hair from becoming oily. I massage the oil into my scalp because it improves circulation and promotes hair growth.  
Maintaining Scalp Health 
In addition to using dandruff shampoos and scalp oils, there is the number one most important thing one should do to improve and maintain their scalp's health. 
That's scalp exfoliation! Just as you should clarify or chelate your hair in order to rid your hair of build up that a regular shampoo does not clean, you should exfoliate your scalp to clean it more thoroughly than regular shampoo could.  

This video talks about scalp exfoliation. As you can see, although the woman washed her hair regularly, it was not enough to thoroughly clean the scalp. The scalp had build up which could retard the woman's hair growth. The trichologist used a scalp exfoliator to remove the dead skin cells, excess sebum, and build up on the scalp.  
Affects of Build Up, Excess Sebum, and Dead Skin Cells on the Scalp
Excess sebum could actually clog pores and harden inside the pores, which causes growth retardation and increased shedding. In the long term, this leads to hair loss and hair thinness (due to the excess of sebum, dead skin cells, etc, in the pores and follicles, the follicles will shrink and as a result the size of the hair strand will shrink, resulting in thin hair.)
Scalp exfoliation is great for people with dandruff and eczema. It will also help with scalp acne. 

How to Exfoliate Your Scalp  
Once a week before you shampoo your scalp (remember: you apply shampoo to your scalp, and not your actual hair).
What to use? 
1.) Salicylic acid or fruit enzyme exfoliant: It softens dead skin cells and remove harden sebum that is trapped in the folicle, and it makes it easier for the shampoo to remove the dead skin. Because it softens the dead skin cells, it does not require any scrubbing. It also removes excess sebum on the hair folicle. It is very gentle and the first choice to exfoliate the scalp. Use before the shampoo. Recommended for those with braids, dreadlocks, or weave because it's it's easy to use if you have braids, dreadlocks, or weave.
Enzymes based exfoliatiors: 
  • Philip Kingsley Exfoliating Scalp Mask (what she used in the video)
  • Alterna Caviar Exfoliating Scalp Facial
  • Kiehls Deep Micro-Exfoliating Scalp Treatment
  • Aveda Invati Exfoliating Shampoo
  • Ouidad Mediterranean Bay Leaf Exfoliating Hair and Scalp Treatment
2.) Paddle Brush: Make sure none of the bristles are broken or missing, or it will scratch. She says think of it as a broom and the scalp is the floor. It is the broom sweeping away dirt from the floor. It will just remove excess dead skin but not excess sebum. Make sure to shampoo after. It is not to massage the scalp but to exfoliate. After you use it for 2-3 minutes, wash your hair afterwards. It is easy to use on relaxed or straight hair.
3.) Rhassoul and Bentonite clay: It has minerals that are good for the scalp. Will not remove excess sebum trapped in the hair follicle but it will remove excess oil on the scalp and the dead skin cells to a certain extent.
4.) Baking soda: she has not used this method yet but noted that people have tried it.
5.) Sugar or salt: not recommended for those with sensitive scalps. Can be very irritating for the scalp and not the best to try as an exfoliator. Sugar can create tiny wounds on the scalp, and she does not recommend it but it may work for you.
More scalp exfoliator recommendations can be found here and you can learn about the Scalp Invigorator, which Sunshyne from Hairlicious uses, here and get it 50% if you are interested in trying it out. 
*Exfoliants that do not contain enzymes will rely on beads or coarse substances and scrubbing to remove dead skin. Therefore while you do not need to rub in the first suggestion, the other ones you would have to in order to exfoliate your scalp.*
**Do a patch test beforehand on a small area in case you have an allergic reaction**
Shinier hair 
It brings more oxygen to your scalp because your pores are open and free of excess sebum, build up, and dead skin cells.

You can learn more about scalp exfoliation and check out a homemade recipe by checking out Longing4Length's post here.
There is also a thread at the LongHairCareForum's site started by the trichologist who posted the video which you could read here

Will you try scalp exfoliation? 
Have you ever tried it? 
What were your results?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

#WashDayExperience: Next Day Hair

For 5/18's wash day, I tried my hand at using perm rods again. This time I wrapped my hair around the rod instead of rolling once then wrapping once etc. This led to sleeker results and more defined curls. The reason why I did a perm rod set again was because: 
1.) I want to perfect the perm rod set. 
2.) I think that the set will help to minimize ssk and shed hair being wrapped around any ssk. I noticed a significant decreased amount of ssk during the first perm rod set and my hair was also significantly less tangly.   . 
3.) Because the curls are tight and the ends are curled, my ends are fairly protected from the environment.
For the next perm rod set, I will add product to the ends to get a sleeker result on the ends. I will also wrap the ends more tightly against the rod for a sleeker result on the ends. I am still trying to figure out how to make my roots more sleek. I might also try to do my hair in a grid. I recently watched Kimmaytube's video on parting natural hair and I discovered the importance of parting your hair.  You can check out the video here but here is what she said in the comments about parting hair:

So to the actual wash day: 
The products I used (the last product, a deep conditioner, was actually used on my nape hair. More information on how I take care of my nape hair will be discussed in a future post): 

I shampooed and conditioned with the E'tae line. I use the E'tae line and PT with Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor once a week, usually on Tuesday's. Tuesday's are my protein day and Friday's are my moisture day (I usually use Deva Curl on my moisture days but sometimes I switch it up and use Mielle Organics, but I haven't in a couple months). The shampoo has no slip and it does nothing to detangle my tangly hair (shampoo doesn't really need slip), so I do not detangle with the shampoo in it. If I did, I feel like I'd do more harm than good.
This was the first wash day I started sectioning my hair in instead of 4. This is because I'm trying to start taking extra care of sections of my hair I usually overlook. Just like this wash day is the first I especially paid attention to my nape, I wanted to make sure my crown got some TLC by sectioning the top, middle, and bottom of each side of my head.

Top, middle, and bottom of each side is sectioned off
  I apply the shampoo to my scalp and massage it in. I let it sit for at least one minute.  


 Even though I apply shampoo to the scalp, when you rinse it out in the shower, the shampoo flows down your strands anyway. 
After I rinsed out the shampoo from each section, I applied the conditioner. My tangles melted instantly, and although it isn't necessarily moisturizing, I was able to easily glide my fingers through my previously tangly hair. Finger detangling was a breeze. 
After the conditioner, I used the Aphogee 2 Min for two minutes (I counted!), and then I rinsed it out and applied the Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream. You're always supposed to add moisture back into your hair after you do a protein treatment. This cream acted more like an oil rinse than anything,and it was hard keeping it on my wet hair (water and oil does not mix) but it did the trick.
After I washed it

 After I lightly t-shirt dried my hair (I read that perm rods get sleeker results if you do it on very wet hair, so I left it dripping), I started the perm rod process. I would take a section of hair, add product to it, and then put the roller on it by twisting my hair along the roller. I had also two strand twisted halfway down each section in order to make applying the rod easier. I applied by wrapping my hair along the length of the roller.
The picture above is how I applied the roller. I wrapped my hair (purple) around the roller, and when I reached the end, I went back and overlapped my hair. I tried to stretch my hair across the roller as I wrapped it (instead of keeping the hair bundled in one spot)  as much as possible so that the end result would be sleek.    
The purple circles are the hair bundled tightly against each other on the roller. I tried to keep my hair wrapped around the full length of the roller, shown in the pink circles, and not just a smart part of the rollers in order to keep my results sleek.

 Lastly, I tried to roll tightly and positioned the roller in a way that it laid flat against my scalp. 
The products:

The perm rod set:
I apply perm rods on wet hair


I finished the perm rod set at 9:44pm (I started at 8:30-ish pm), and when I took out the rollers at 8am, the set was dry. 

 I undid the twists at the root:

My first day hairstyle:

Next Day Hair 
So this is the part everyone has been waiting for. My next day hair!  
Unfortunately, the curls didn't hold up much after the first day. I need a good styling foam. If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments!
So because my hair didn't hold up well, I only wore the curls for the second day and after that I kept my hair up in a top perm rod puff.
I decided to style my hair as a mohawk for my next day hair style. It was on a Friday and I had a party to go to.

Because I'm still a beginner at this set, I like it most as an updo because it hides the flaws best lol. You can really see how not smooth the roots are in the mohawk. One day I'd love to perfect a perm rod mohawk.

Any suggestions on a good styling foam?
Any tips on smoothing out my roots? I really believe that maybe it just takes practice, but any suggestions are welcome.
How do you style your perm rod sets?

Thanks for joining me on this #WashDayExperience!
I can't wait to see the topics for June's #WashDayExperience.

The Wash Day Experience