Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Relaxed Hair Braidout

In my previous post I mentioned that I had slightly tweaked my braidout method. I thought I'd share one of my more recent results!

I typically begin on freshly washed and deep conditioned hair, that has been air drying for about 2 hours. After detangling with a large wide tooth comb, I part my hair into fours to focus on just one section. Each quarter has two braids that I secure with small perms rods.

For styling products I am still a huge fan of the Shea Moisture's Curl & Style Milk, it just give my hair a lot of definition and hold without feeling sticky or weighed down. I will admit, I am ready to try another product but this one is definitely a staple. For a sealant, I use grapeseed oil in t
he cooler months, and coconut oil in the warmer months. The weather has been truly disrespectly lately, so today I definitely grabbed the grapeseed oil.

I seal the ends with castor oil, and sleep over night in a bonnet. After 8 hours, my hair is typically dry enough and ready to take down. I coat my ends with one of my many serums and oil to take down... and lastly FLUFF! I like for my braidouts to have loads of volume, and to not look over styled.

Finished Product

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hair Update

Relaxer Update 8/15 @ 10 weeks
As usual this is well over due.... However better late than never :) . After taking out my box braids, I'd planned to take those out and install faux locs for the end of the summer. It was all going so well until I got about 20 locs in, and my braider told me to come back later?! Apparently she had some meeting that came up all of a sudden, and she really had to go. Now mind you, I live about 45 minutes away from this lady, and my appointment was at 7:30am. As I am driving home, fuming by the way, I notice these locs are extremely tight and hurt to be moved. I started contemplating if I really wanted to endure the pain for the next few nights/walk around with a stiff neck just for the sake of a cute hairstyle. (also I was really worried about my edges for real). So long story short, I ended up taking the locs out as soon as I got home and canceling my appointment. A few days later I relaxed my hair at 10 weeks post on August 15th.
Fresh Trim & Rinse

Length Check Nov 2015
Since then I've been rocking braid-outs nonstop throughout early fall. I'm so proud of the way my braidouts have been turning out, especially when bantus used to be my go-to. After 11 weeks of braidouts, buns, and 2 heat passes. I relaxed my hair at 11 weeks post on 10/30. I used my usual ORS No Lye Relaxer both times, and this most recent relaxer left lots of texture in my hair that I did not mind. Two weeks later I visited my childhood stylist for a black rinse, and a much needed trim. I try to visit her atleast twice a year to get a professional trim, because that is one thing I do not DIY.

This stretch I plan to do more bunning than braid outs because winter is here hunny! I had the pleasure of waking up to true Winter Wonderland this morning in Chicago. So that means less manipulation, drier hair, and most deep conditioning sessions. Hopefully I'll be checking back in with my new improved braid out soon, and trying some no heat curl styles for the holidays.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wash Day Box Braids

  My long term protective style this stretch began with box braids, and they were installed a few weeks back. To maintain my braids I use homemade sprays, one moisturizing and the other more protein based. I'll usually use either spray nightly before putting on my scarf. I've been wearing this style for a little over three weeks, but I only plan to wash my scalp once every two weeks. However, washing during a long term protective style can be a challenge.

For my wash day, I used techniques that were similar to the way I washed/maintained my sew in. I used a spray bottle containing 1 part Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Threat Shampoo, 3 parts water, and 1 part glycerin. I used my finger tips to gently massage my scalp, then let the suds slide down my braids. Next, I towel dried my hair and allowed the braids to air dry. Once my braids were dry, I oiled my scalp with coconut oil.

Overall it was a very simple wash day, but my scalp felt a millions times better afterward. After awhile the daily products and stylers begin to build up on the hair and scalp. So far the box braids have been very convenient this summer, but I am already missing my hair :(. I apologize for the lack of pictures, because I keep forgetting to take more pictures of my progress and hair styles. It has been a crazy last couple of months with vacations, trips, new jobs, and I just moved into a new apartment last week. I finally feel like I am settled and I now have more free time to blog and experiment in my hair. I have so many goals and plans for my hair coming up, and I can't wait to share! #WashDayExperience

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Maintaining a Sew In

As of lately, I have been using long term protective styles to stretch my relaxers. My past stretch I used a sew in, which for me was a hair journey first. Before starting my hair journey I relied on sew ins in college, and that eventually led to extreme thinning of my relaxed hair. I vowed to never wear them again, then I got one last "quick weave" two summers ago. Let's just say that was my first major set back. So you would think that I'd be done with sew ins forever right??
 Of course not,  I just couldn't stay away from the bundles!! I began researching hundreds of YT videos over proper care for sew ins. After a few weeks of research, I stole different tidbits from a few Youtubers, and I felt I was ready to try again. Below is a list of the most helpful techniques to maintaining a sew in, that I believe led me to such a peaceful experience. :)

1. Moisturized Hair Prior Install- Before getting my hair braided I deep conditioned using a deep moisturizing product. I also thoroughly moisturized & sealed my hair in the days leading up to the install. 

2. Washing Frequently- Using diluted shampoo in a spray bottle, and spraying directing on scalp. Use finger tips to massage scalp. I believe this helped tremendously, because I was able to keep my scalp and hair clean. In previous installs I didn't focus so much on keeping my braids clean, the way I did this last time. *I also used essential oils like tea tree & lavendar while washing

3. Nylon Thread- My stylist used nylon thread, instead of the cotton thread which causes a lot less tension and drying on my relaxed hair. 

4. Sleep Wear- This step is more crucial to the actual bundles than my relaxed hair, but in previous installs my hair would matt at the nape of neck over time. During this past stretch, I would either wrap my hair if it was straight, or braid it every night before putting on my bonnet. I had a lot less tangles, and used less heat on my actual extensions. 

5. Deep Conditioning/ Steaming- In the same way that I diluted my shampoo, I also diluted my conditioners and sat under my hooded dryer weekly. Deep conditioning made a world of difference! When I took my sew in down my hair was sooo soft, I couldn't even believe it. 

I think the biggest thing I changed was my proactivity while in a sew in. I think before I thought of it as a "break" from my hair, but in no way is it a break lol. It still requires daily/weekly maintenance, however the benefit is the lack of manipulation that goes into it. I was so glad to have retained and gained hair while in a sew-in for the first time ever. I left that style in for a little over 8 weeks, and I relaxed at 16 weeks in early June. *Refer to Relaxer Updates to see progress of my hair over time...  I already have my next appointment scheduled for the fall <3

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hair Update!

Two weeks post + trim
I have not updated since the last relaxer, but so much has happened! This year I decided to push my stretches from 12 to 16 weeks, and it really wasn't bad this first time. After relaxing my hair in February, I left it out for about 6 weeks before installing a sew in.
Sew in installed March '15

Now, 3 years ago (May 2012), when I started my hair journey I vowed to never install another sew in again. Then just a year later I let a friend glue a quick weave in my hair, which led to my biggest set back yet! Definitely a blessing and a curse, because it allowed me to chop a lot of my hair off and begin again from scratch. Once again, I vowed to stick with wigs or other styles that would allow me to have access to my hair.... So after all the trauma with sew ins, this past March I decide to try one more time LOL. I spent many hours researching the best ways to take care of your hair beneath a sew in, and decided to give it another shot. I only intended to leave it in for 8 weeks, but I went on a vacation at the end of May/ early June so I left it in for about 9.5 weeks. As you can see my hair is not in shambles, and I will probably get another sew in later on this year in the fall.
Blow dried texture after relaxer

I waited a few days after taking down my hair, then I self relaxed at 16 weeks post. I actually left quite a bit of texture in my hair, but I am very happy with the results. Two week later (today) I went to my old beautician so that I could get a proper trim, and record a length check. I plan to wait another 16 weeks to relax again, and after the first 6 weeks I will install another long term protective style that I am really excited about! I will also do another post which explains how I took care of my hair while in a sew in:)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Relaxer Update February 2015

So it's been awhile... Happy New Year & Happy Valentine's too! I find that with me protective styling the majority of 2014, there hasn't been much to blog about :( Luckily this year I plan to wear my hair out slightly more, which means I can experiment with more products and styles. Anyways, my last stretch was 12 weeks long and it was fairly uneventful. I left my hair out for about 3 weeks, then wore a sew-in for about a month, and ended my stretch with Senegalese twists. I ended my stretch by clarifying my hair and giving my scalp few days to breathe.

On Tuesday I started with my relaxer day by detangling my hair, and oiling my scalp with vaseline. I parted my in four sections, then pre-parted each section to make my relaxing process quicker. To relax, I used the ORS line in Normal, and added 2 tablespoons of olive oil to slow processing. From start to finish, I only kept the relaxer on for 18 minute, and 30 seconds. After rinsing the relaxer from my hair, I did a mid-step protein treatment with Aphogee 2 min Reconstructor. After a few minutes, I rinsed and neutralized my hair three times.

 Once the relaxer process was over, I wanted to restore my moisture and protein levels in my hair. To deep condition I used both ORS Replenishing conditioner, and KeraCare's Humecto Creme Conditioner. I left the mixture on my hair for thirty minutes before following up with my Paul Mitchell smoothing conditioner. When I stepped out the shower to dry my hair my hair felt really great. I let my hair t-shirt dry for a few minutes before applying leave-ins and heat protectant. To style my hair I blow dryed & flat ironed my hair.

I am overall happy with my progress this past year, but I do miss my hair and my blog. I am now at a length that I can comfortably bun, or try other short term protective styles. This year I plan to wear my hair out 5 weeks, then protect for 7 weeks. That way I will get to enjoy my hair, but still spend a good amount of time protecting my ends. I'm looking forward to hitting new goals this year, I'm officially APL now too :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Relaxer Update Nov 2014

This update is well over due! At 12 weeks post exactly I self relaxed my hair using ORS normal no lye relaxer. This time I did bring the relaxer down further to cover over some areas that were a little too under processed. Overall I am very happy with my results, and my overall progress in 2014. Here is how my relaxer day went....

Days leading up to...
- Took down my protective style (wig) and washed/ blow dryed my hair a week prior to relaxing
- No scratching scalp & low maintenance hair styles

Day of relaxer
- Detangled using my Mane & Tail detangled and olive oil
- Coated previously relaxer hair in olive oil and based scalp with petroleum jelly
- Separated my hair into twist, to allow for easier application

Application (mixed relaxer with 1tbs of olive oil)
- Relaxed my hair using my gloved fingers, starting in the opposite spot from my previous relaxer
- After 20 minutes I rinsed the relaxed from my hair using cool water
- Used a mid step protein treatment, Aphogee's 2 minute reconstructor
- Neutralized my hair 3 times using the ORS Creamy Aloe Shampoo
- Deep conditioned using ORS Replenishing Pak & Keracare's Humecto Creme conditioner for 45 minutes
- Rinsed in the shower and followed up with Paul Mitchell's Daily Smoothing Conditioner for a few minutes before rinsing out

- After washing my hair I t-shirt dried to get rid of a lot of excess water
- I blow dried my hair on low after about 30 minutes of air drying
- I flat ironed using the baby bliss titanium flat iron

Day 4 hair

Day of relaxer- Straighten by ME

Since this post I have dusted my hair to get rid of split ends, I actually went to the salon asking for a trim and somehow she forgot smh. I believe this past year of extreme protective styling and wigging has led me to awesome retention this year. Next year I plan to enjoy my hair a little more as it grows out, however I will still protective style 60% -75% of the year. On my way to APL :)

Shots of my hair after my salon visit Thanksgiving Weekend below.

After Salon Visit
Line 7 is APL!!