Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Donut" Bun Step-by-Step

For those of you who are new to the donut bun thingy, here are some step-by-step pics of the bun I did today. 

I started off by moisturizing my hair in sections. I spritzed each section with water (water=moisture), focusing on the ends. I then applied coconut oil (this is an excellent moisturizer and from what I've read, one of the few oils that can actually penetrate the hair shaft), finger-combing as I went. I sealed my ends with EVOO.

Moisturized my hair in sections prior to bunning.
The new sock bun thingy I made today is on the left.
(Read my post "Quick Bun" to see tutorial.)
It's bigger & has nylon on the outside to protect my hair.
I also rubbed some olive oil on it for added moisture.
In case you were wondering...
I have a LOT of hair! LOL!
One of my trusty hair ties made of nylons. Gentle on my
hair and very stretchy. I put my hair in a ponytail with this.
Put the sock donut thingy around my ponytail.
Find the center of my hair, take another
ponytail holder and put it over my hair so it's
covering the sock bun thingy.
Twist & tuck my hair around the bun,
securing it with bobby pins.
Spritz the rest of my hair with water, slap on
some gel and smooth it down with my hands
(I do not use brushes as they can cause damage).
Cover with a scarf for 20-30 minutes to smooth
it down some more. Makes it look sleek
sans the damage caused by a brush.
(My ear was still red from the scarf, lol.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quick Bun

Since my TnC didn't have time to dry, I decided to put it in a bun. Fortunately for me, I'd just done a ton of research on the benefits of bunning, so I was quite excited to go with this style. Everything I read touted this style to be one of the best protective styles for long hair. I used my old "donut" thing to make the bun (click here for a tutorial on how to make one, it's really easy). I wet my hair and slicked it back with some KCCC.

Do you like to bun your hair? What's your favorite bun style?

First Twist n' Curl...Well, Kinda

I've decided to wear my hair stretched more now because before straightening it I noticed a lot of knots, probably as a result of wearing twists. Even though my hair is long, it is also realllly curly, so I experience a lot of shrinkage, hence the greater chance of getting knots. :/ 

So today I embarked into unchartered territory...

I started with freshly deep conditioned hair. My overnight, whole-head baggying with my Yummy Moisture Treatment + molasses + blue agave nectar definitely paid off! My hair was buttery soft (but not mushy, which is good because too much moisture can lead to breakage), easy to detangle and twist. I applied the Kimmaytube leave-in, Shea Moisture CE Smoothie and a little Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum.* (During the summer I only set my twists with the Kimmaytube conditioner and my hair flourished. But now that the cooler weather has set in, I'm not taking any chances - I'm taking all known precautions to protect my tresses from the weather.) I set the 10 fat twists on flexirods (I don't know what they're actually called, that's just what I've decided to call them, lol!), pinning them down at the roots with bobby pins to further stretch them.

I had to run out, so the flexirods had to come
out before my hair could dry.



*I do not endorse for these products. I am simply sharing what I use.

Bye Bye Straight Hair!

After wearing my hair straight for 8 days, I was ready to get my curls back! I enjoyed the experience while it lasted, and I was a teeny bit sad to say good-bye to my straight hair because I knew it would be months until I saw it again, but I was sooo happy to get my hair and scalp clean! Eight days of straight hair = dirty hair! I had put so much product on it because I was so paranoid about it reverting. Yuck.

I baggied my entire head last night with my
Yummy Moisture Treatment + molasses.
The results? Today my hair is soooo soft!

But, I digress. Since my hair was loaded down with product, I whipped out a sulfate shampoo, something I hadn't used on my hair since probably early summertime. Surprisingly it felt good though. I was just so happy to have my scalp and hair CLEAN that it didn't matter how my hair felt, lol. I applied the product to my scalp and concentrated massaging it in there. Then I ran my fingers down through my hair, spreading the product through but being careful not to bunch up the hair. I was still a bit worried about my hair tangling because of the shampoo, but thankfully my method of finger-combing and braiding/twisting under the running water, which I learned from Naptural85 of YT, kept my locks from locking, lol.

Now I'm sitting here with saran wrap, 3 plastic shower caps and 2 stretchy headbands on my head, letting the moisture treatment do its thang! I plan to top off this lovely treatment with my first TnC (twist n' curl) à la :) 

Friday, November 25, 2011

My First Fishtail Braid!

This was my second attempt at the fishtail braid. I'm so happy I got it! :) I totally wasn't expecting it to turn out this good! The first time I wasn't successful because my hair was only stretched. It was much easier this time since my hair was straightened. I was inspired to attempt this style thanks to a post by Shelli of (thank you, Shelli!).
I watched this video on YT which helped a LOT.

Have you done a hairstyle for the first time & much to your surprise, it turned out beautifully??

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

7 Months of Growth!

My hair is now BSL (16 inches at the longest point). This is the longest my hair has ever been in my adult life!

In April 2011, after watching Kimmaytube for months, I decided to do my own grow out challenge. For 6 months I committed to gentle handling, protective styles and most importantly, no heat. Since flat ironing was the only way I used to know how to style my natural hair, this challenge was a big deal for me, not to mention the fact that prior to becoming inspired by Kimmaytube I didn't care for protective hairstyles and couldn't ever imagine myself wearing my hair like that. Click here for a mini timeline of my before pictures.

Initially I thought it might be difficult for me to put the blow dryer and flat iron away. But not too long after I got started, I was hooked! Naturally (no pun intended, lol!) there was a learning curve with technique, products, etc., but I fell in love with protective hairstyling, particularly the two-strand twist. At first I'd twist my hair for the effect: a twist-out. But then I started leaving the twists in for a few days, and I discovered that I loved the twists even more than the twist-outs! This was totally unprecedented for me because prior to embarking on this 6-month journey, I'm embarrassed to say it, but protective hairstyles really turned me off. 
Now, I can't imagine living without them!

I grew up believing the myth that black women couldn't grow our hair long. When I started my GOC, I aimed to blow this myth out of the water. Empowered by Kim Love's videos, I knew I would add inches to my hair. But what I didn't expect was the passion I developed for natural hair. This passion led to hours upon hours of research as I sought to learn more about healthy hair care practices. 
Then something interesting started happening.

Over the summer I started running early on Saturday mornings. Now, to be clear, I never liked running long distance. In fact I used to proudly boast about my strong distaste for the activity. But I soon became addicted to my Saturday morning runs, and I discovered that listening to praise and worship music enhanced my workouts...I could run longer, faster and harder than ever before. Not only that, but now I loved to run. 

Running was only the beginning. On July 16, 2011 I rose early to have devotional time and I've been doing that ever since. In the past I had tried to commit to morning devotions, but that's just it...I tried. Trying implies you're not fully committed. And I hadn't been. But this time my circumstances were different and I made the decision to stick with it. I gained some ground and saw some spiritual growth, but it wasn't until I started an amazing book in September 2011 that my spiritual walk was enhanced infinitely. 
I knew I would never be the same.

Now what does all this have to do with my hair journey? For those of you who aren't believers, I'd encourage you not to close my page just yet, because there's a message here for you too.

My GOC has been instrumental in teaching me that I have so much more to give. It made me realize that I have greatness inside of me. And I'm here to tell you: so do you. As silly as it may sound, I realized that if I could grow my hair longer than it's ever been then I also had the potential inside of me to do much more with my life. For years I'd allowed the myth about black women's hair to hold me back; I never even thought to research it. And for years I let other people's beliefs keep me mediocre. 

No longer. I wasn't created to live in mediocrity. I was designed to pursue excellence.

I refuse average. Do you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ACV Rinses, Cold Weather & My Scalp

I wash my hair once a week. I've found this to be best for my hair. When I don't have a lot of product build-up, I skip the KCCC shampoo and start with an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse (1 part ACV to 3 parts water), massaging it into my scalp and squeezing it down through my hair. I started with the ACV rinses I think at the end of the summer or the beginning of the fall, when it was still relatively warm out. But it has been cooler out and after wash day for the past two weeks I noticed that my scalp would get itchy. At first I applied jojoba oil, massaging it in with my fingertips (I never scratch with my nails, at least not on purpose!). But the relief was only temporary - I mean, very temporary. Then I tried olive oil (EVOO), which yielded slightly better results but I was soon itching again. My last-ditch effort was a spritz recipe I found that had water, EVOO, and lavender and tea tree oils. At first this worked great - better than my previous two attempts. But the next day I still found myself fighting the urge to rub my scalp.

By this point I'd been rubbing my scalp so much that, even though I was using my fingertips, my scalp was becoming sore and tender. I knew this wasn't good and that I needed to do something, but I didn't know what. I Googled about the causes of itchy scalp but still was not able to figure out what had caused this abrupt change in my scalp's condition.

But there was an idea tickling the back of my mind...could it be the ACV? No, I thought, my hair and scalp love those rinses. I researched ACV and the scalp anyway, and what I found surprised me: ACV is often used to cure itchy scalp. How could this be? I was really confused at this point, so I did the only thing I knew to do: I decided to skip my usual ACV rinse for my next wash. If my scalp wasn't itchy after that, then I would know for sure that the ACV, for whatever reason, was causing my scalp to itch.

So that's exactly what I did. I skipped the ACV rinse and only shampooed. But here's the funny part: my next wash day was going to be followed by my first straightening in 7 months! I'd been doing my own grow out challenge, and this wash day was going to be the culmination of months of no-heat discipline. I couldn't afford to mess this week up with an itchy scalp, so I hoped that foregoing the ACV rinse would be the answer.

Now it's 3 days post-wash and my scalp has itched a little but it hasn't been nearly as itchy as before. I can only conclude that the ACV rinses are no good for me in the winter.

Have you also found that ACV rinses cause your scalp to itch in the winter months? How does your regimen change in the winter?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Length Comparison

I never thought my hair growth journey would turn into a blog and that natural hair would become a passion of mine. So I never took a "before" picture, nor did I take progress pics. But I've compiled a few pictures to show you how my hair had never grown past a certain length. It always maintained the same length...until now! :)

Thanksgiving '10
Christmas '09
Love how I'm stuffing my face?! LOL!

Spring '10

Christmas '10

Pics of my current length coming soon!!!

Straightening Q&A

Now that I've finally straightened my hair, you may be asking yourself some questions...

So how long is your hair??
My Hubby measured it with a tape measure and it is 16 inches at the longest point. It is just past BSL and I can grab it when I reach up my back.

How long did it take you to straighten your hair?
About 3 hours. I really took my time, making sure to handle my hair gently.

Are you mixed?
No, I am not mixed. Both of my parents are black.

Your ends look rough...are you going to trim your hair while it's straight?
No, I am not going to trim my hair. Since my goal is to retain length, I am going to stick with my "search and destroy" method of trimming, rather than just trimming to trim. After all, it is a myth that trimming helps your hair grow. Yes, it helps your hair grow healthy and prevents split ends from ruining entire strands of hair, but it does not make your hair longer. Think about it: you're cutting your hair! lol (It took me a while to realize this, lol.) My rough ends don't bother me since I'm wearing my hair curly most the time anyway.

Are you planning on growing it any longer?
Yes, my current goal is to grow it waist length (when stretched). I also want to grow out the layers so my hair is long and almost even in length.

How long are you going to wear it straight?
As of right now I don't plan on straightening my hair again for several months, but I have yet made a final decision.

Will you ever use the creamy crack again?
No, I don't plan to. I am absolutely head-over-heels in LOVE with my natural hair. I couldn't imagine going back to the creamy crack.

Any other questions? Please feel free to comment or email me at

My Straightening Process

The tools that I used: 2 Goody barrettes, rat tail comb, 2
clips and a tape measure. (Not pictured: wide-toothed comb.)
These are the steps I took to prepare my hair for and protect it from the heat.

Straightening Prep
  • Detangled with olive oil then shampooed with KCCC
  • Deep conditioned with my Yummy Moisture Treatment (I also added some Shea Moisture CE Smoothie to it for an extra boost). Put on 2 disposable shower caps plus my thick shower cap and left it in for 35-40 minutes. Afterwards, following Shelli's tip of, I took off the shower caps and let my hair cool for 10 minutes before rinsing it out (this closes the cuticles).
  • Diluted my detangling conditioner with water and poured it over each section before rinsing out the deep conditioner completely with lukewarm water (I was supposed to use cool water but I was already so cold in the shower! lol). Detangled a bit again then twisted up each section.
  • (Note: I do not dry my hair at all after washes - not with a towel, t-shirt or anything.) Applied the Kimmaytube leave-in conditioner (my hair's favorite!) to each section then braided each section up for bedtime. 
By morning (actually only a few hours later because I went to bed late and woke up pretty early) my hair was still very damp, which I expected. This actually worked out great though because the heat protectant directions indicate to apply it to wet hair.

Straightening Process
  • Starting from the back, I parted my hair in long, narrow sections straight across and applied the heat protectant thoroughly from root to tip, focusing on my new growth and ends. (Note: I researched heat protectants for weeks before deciding on and purchasing one. I am very picky about what I put in my hair. I might post later on how I chose the heat protectant.)
  • My blow dryer has the following settings: Cool, Warm, Hot, Very Hot. After applying HP to each small section, I combed it with my wide-toothed comb then I blow dried each section on Warm (I have a comb attachment on the end, too). The only time I turned it up to Hot a couple times was for the crown, which is thicker and curlier. I figured if I had to use more heat, I'd rather have it come from the blow dryer than the flat iron. I repeated these steps for my entire head.
  • When I was about halfway through blow drying, I turned on the flat iron (courtesy of my sister, thank you, Trelle! :) if you ever need an event planner then you absolutely must call her - she's AH-mazing! The temperature range is 140 - 410 degrees. I wanted to use the least amount of heat possible to achieve straight hair, so I turned it down to somewhere around 300 degrees, probably less, much closer to 140 degrees than 410 degrees (I couldn't tell because the degrees aren't marked off in the middle). I was surprised to discover that I had to turn down the temperature several times during the process. The few times I saw smoke I turned it down. Anyway, to flat iron I started from the back and once again parted my hair in long, narrow sections. I applied a little more HP to each section, took small (maybe 1"x 1"?) sections, gently combed them from tip to root, then ran the flat iron over them. (I know in my post on flat ironing I said it's best to hold the rat tail comb in front of the flat iron for each pass in order to avoid tangles, but I tried that and it was just too awkward for me. I could probably do it on someone else's hair, but not on my own, especially at my length.) I repeated this process for my entire head.
After flat ironing, I smoothed a little more heat protectant over my ends, roots and edges. Later, I got a hold of some a "Texture Balm" (similar to a pomade) and smoothed it over my hair. I will continue to use this throughout the week to keep my hair smooth.* Each night I plan on wrapping my hair, although I haven't done this forever so hope I haven't lost my touch!

* Starting November 25 I replaced the texture balm with an anti-breakage serum.

Straight Hair After 7 Months!!

I just finished straightening my hair a little while ago and wanted to write as soon as possible to record my first reactions.

Here are a few of the things I said to my Hubby immediately after I'd finished flat ironing:
  • "I feel silly!"
  • "I feel like the girl from The Ring."
  • "I feel like a dog!"
Now, seven months ago when I vowed not to use any heat for six months with the intention of growing my hair, I never would've imagined that I'd say these things. After all, having long hair (what I used to call "back hair" when I was little) had always been a dream of mine. But as I got closer to finishing with the flat iron, I found myself making funny faces at my reflection instead of smiling from ear-to-ear like I'd expected. Who was this person looking back at me in the mirror?? I felt...different. It wasn't a good or bad different...just different. After going so long without straightening my hair, I'd definitely grown accustomed to my protective hairstyles. I just love them!

Interestingly enough, as I flat ironed my hair, I enjoyed seeing how far it went down my back. It was long - not as close to waist-length as I originally thought, but it had still grown a lot. But still, the finished product surprised me. I felt like I was wearing a wig! LOL!

It is now evening and I'm still adjusting, so I'm interested to see how long it takes for me to get used to my hair being straight....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Word on Heat Damage...

In my first post I shared how the texture in the front of my hair is straight in some areas. In fact, the hair in the front is curly then straight then curls at the ends. When I first started my hair growth journey, I thought, What the heck?? I don't remember my hair being straight like this before....

As you can see, even with a twist-out the
front doesn't curl as much as the rest of my hair.
And it probably wasn't. I've determined that the straight hair is probably the result of heat damage, which would make sense considering that's all I used on my hair after I transitioned since I didn't know how to care for or style it. The good news is that since I made the decision to grow my hair long, the straight part will eventually grow out and hopefully those strands will return to their curly state.

Although I'm obviously not happy with the straight areas, it's a good lesson for me in controlling how much heat I use on my hair. Now I know that the front, probably since it is a looser, more wavy curl, can't tolerate high temperatures, and the same probably goes for the back since the texture is similar there. I will keep this in mind when I straighten my hair tomorrow. I plan on using a low temperature in the front, back and sides and at the crown (my thickest, curliest area) I'll use a slightly higher temperature. And, of course, I'll deep condition and apply a heat protectant first. I expect to have no problem with getting my hair to revert.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

For His Glory

To most naturals, long hair might not mean much. But my hair growing down my back represents much more than just long strands of keratin; it symbolizes my potential. All my life my hair was always capable of being long; it only didn't grow long because I didn't know I could grow it long. Similarly, all my life I've had this amazing, God-given potential inside of me, and I didn't know I had it in me. I'm just now starting to realize it...I catch glimpses of it in the quiet moments, when it is just me and my King. He gave me my hair and He gave me my potential. My potential is unlimited, and when it feels limited it is only because I am limiting it.

My hair is the longest it has ever been and it continues to grow, and I'm just now grazing the tip of the iceberg of my potential; I have yet to unleash all of the greatness that lies idle beneath the surface of my being. But God...oh, but GOD! He has a plan for my life and I know it is great, much greater than anything I can imagine. And it all starts with me tapping into the potential He gave me.

This blog was birthed out of a deep-rooted belief that I had something to contribute to the natural hair community. The more I post, the more I feel this greatness that's inside of me bubbling to the surface. My hair journey is about much more than hair - it's about becoming.

How about you? What are you doing with your potential? If you're like me and you've tucked it away for years, snuffing it out under the weight of mediocrity, then start today. Unleash your potential. Let the greatness out and watch God's hand move!

Length Check Prep: Almost Waist Length??

Well I'm four days out from straightening my hair and doing an "official" length check! This will be my first time using heat on my hair for seven months! That was definitely an accomplishment for me. For the longest time I didn't know how to style my hair without heat (nor did I want to).

My goal is to achieve waist length hair, and not just at the longest part. I've had layers for years, and I want to grow them out. Now that I know how to grow my hair long, I can do that. So, since my goal is to retain length, I am taking all the necessary precautions I know of to make sure my tresses are well protected through this process.

After my cottage cheese fiasco two nights ago (sorry, still haven't posted about that yet, but it's coming) I set my hair in large twists and tucked them up under my satin scarf. Yesterday I wore the twists pulled back, and last night I tucked them up again. This morning I took each twist out, lightly misted each section with water, then ran my shea butter blend à la Naptural85 of YouTube through it. I misted extra water and put more shea butter on my ends, then I braided each section. Hopefully when my hair dries it will be nicely stretched.

The next step? Searching for knots and split and weathered ends and cutting them off. This is going to be time consuming but oh so worth it in the end. Follow me on Twitter @ForHisGlory5 as I count down to Straightening Day!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Twist-free night

Nyakins and I were both too tired last night to twist up her hair. This morning her hair was still soft and pretty detangled, though! I couldn't believe it. So maybe I don't have to twist her hair every night after all...! We'll see. :)

Nyakins' Twist Results!

The results of Nyakins' twists in the morning?? Awesome! I was so pleased! A couple came out, but I was expecting that to happen. To style, I lightly spritzed each section with water, ran more creamy moisturizer through it, then let it coil on itself. Her hair was soft, detangled, shiny AND presentable! Hallelujah! lol. I think I've had a breakthrough! :)

Nyakins 101

Learning the art of doing my daughter's hair is an adventure. Rarely does she sit still for more than 10 seconds at a time, so I find myself following her bobbing head back and forth across the changing table as she reaches for objects to keep herself entertained.

Second, her hair is two textures (which isn't bad considering I have three or four) and is also different lengths in different places (longer at the crown, shorter on the sides and in the back). I recently started flat twisting her long hair (which is drier) after her baths, with much better results in the morning. The flat twists enable her curls to stick together and, as we all know, there is strength in numbers. When I take the twist out, the hair is soft and tangle-free. But since I don't know how to style her hair other than with a bow or a headband, her hair tangles as the day goes on, and by nighttime it's rather fuzzy (she's a busy little bee :)). I'm still learning to make time to twist her hair up again at night, so come morning, I usually have to re- wet it, add my detangling leave-in, and detangle it all over again before I moisturize and style it. Where does the madness end??

Then there are the shorter areas on the sides of her head. They're softer, but the hair is still tightly coiled so it lays close to her head, making it difficult to flat twist, especially when she's moving about!

Tonight I flat twisted as much hair as I could, even in the shorter sections, being careful not to pull the hair too tight, as baby hair is delicate. Styles that are too tight along the hairline can cause thinning. For the short/thin areas I did two-strand twists. I'm interested to see how her hair turns out in the morning.

I know I will learn the best regimen for her hair, but until then it's trial and error, just like with anyone's hair journey, especially my own!

Caramel Treatment Gone Wrong?

A few years ago I went to the salon and had a Carmel Treatment done. Afterwards the stylist blew out my hair and flat ironed it. The results? Incredibly soft, feathery hair, which I LOVED.

Flash forward to about a month ago. Desiring a moisture treatment that would make my hair soft like that again, I searched for and found a homemade caramel treatment recipe. Perfect, I thought. I could achieve the same results without the hefty salon bill? I was sold!

Well...not so perfect. For starters, mine didn't come out looking caramel in color. It looked more like gravy...beef gravy. :/ The smell wasn't so great either due to the apple cider vinegar in it, but I could deal with the smell. After all, I do ACV rinses all the time because my hair loves them. But the results were the most disappointing. I was expecting my hair to turn out buttery soft, but it didn't. In fact, I'd gotten much better results from just adding some honey and olive oil to my detangling conditioner.

Now, to be fair, after the Carmel Treatment was rinsed out at the salon, I don't remember touching my hair until after it was styled. Could it be that the results from a caramel treatment are only noticeable after heat has been applied to the hair? Or was this homemade recipe I'd found just not up to snuff?

If you've made a homemade Caramel Treatment, I'd love to hear about your results! Please comment :) Thank you!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cottage Cheese Protein Treatment

If you've read the "About Me" page, then you'll remember that I said in my blog I would share "the good, the bad AND the ugly." Well, this probably registers somewhere along the scale between bad and ugly. It is undoubtedly the ugliest natural hair care experience I've had to date, which I guess isn't that bad considering all the homemade concoctions we can put in our hair! lol

This started because I decided to take a shortcut to another protein treatment I'd heard about. I didn't have yogurt, and I wanted to save my hubby a trip to the grocery store on the way home. So I told myself I'd use one of the 4oz containers of "smooth and creamy" (I'm not joking, that's what it says on the label) cottage cheese that I had in the fridge. I mixed it in with mayo and it appeared smoother. Great! I thought.  So I did an olive oil pre-poo, then a little while later I started applying the cottage cheese/mayo mix...oh NO! I'd forgot about the CURDS!!!


Well, three rinses later, I finally (I think...I hope!!) got all the cottage cheese curds out of my hair. Lesson learned? I think so, lol! My hair did feel stronger, but it wasn't worth the price. Next time I'll have to make sure I have yogurt on-hand! :)

Any funny homemade-concoctions-gone-wrong stories that you'd like to share? Please comment! :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Want Longer Hair? 3 Things You May Be Missing

Recently, during my daily scouring of the internet for natural hair news and information, I noticed a pattern. For all the natural hair resources out there, it appears as if there are relatively few women who are satisfied with their natural hair and/or are not hitting their hair goals.

Now, to be fair, for as much good information as there is out there, there is also a ton of misinformation. One could easily become confused by all the YouTube videos, blogs and articles. But there is one thing that I have found that separates fact from fiction: science. When I search intently enough, science always backs up and confirms my hair care suspicions and questions.

So this begs the question: if there is scientific information out there to help us address our hair concerns, then why aren't more of us meeting our hair goals? Is it because we aren't diligent in seeking out accurate information? Is it because we lack a hair goal? I'm not quite sure. But here are three things that I have noticed are usually missing from hair care regimens:

  1. Discipline While on my research kicks, time after time I come across ladies who are not satisfied with their hair growth and/or the condition of their hair, yet they keep doing things to sabotage themselves, like applying lots of heat or permanent dyes to their hair. Our hair goals are like any other goals we set in life, and in order to achieve them it is important to exercise discipline. If we consistently apply the rules of proper hair care then we will see the growth we're hoping for.
  2. Patience Have you ever heard that "patience is a virtue"? Well this is especially true when it comes to caring for our curls and kinks. I'm sorry to say it, but there are no "miracle" products or techniques out there that will make our hair grow faster. All hair grows at about the same rate: about a 1/2 inch per month, and nothing we do to our hair is going to change that. But what we can do is exercise patience, and rather than focusing on how fast our hair is growing, we can instead choose to focus our energy on handling our hair gently, minimizing manipulation, wearing it in protective styles, and sealing the moisture into our strands.
  3. Persistence This one goes hand-in-hand with discipline and patience. Constantly changing up your regimen will mostly likely end in frustration. There is no harm in trying new products. However, it would probably be a good idea to spread them out over a period of time. Pace yourself according to your wash schedule. If, for example, you wash your hair once a week, then maybe commit to trying out a product for a month and see how your hair likes it. But if you're constantly trying product after product without giving your hair a chance to "breathe," then you might be doing more harm than good. The women I've seen on YouTube with consistent hair regimens have beautiful, healthy hair and they meet their hair goals.
I hope these tips help you achieve your hair goals!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So What's the Deal with Mineral Oil?

When I first started out with the goal of growing my hair, I was more than a little overwhelmed by the number of hair products out there marketed to our population. Before embarking on my heat-free journey, I didn't think about the ingredients in my hair products any more than I gave a thought to the last ANT I'd stepped on. It just wasn't on my radar. I thought, who has the time to research all those ingredients anyway? I just want something that works! And don't we all?

But I soon came to find that mineral oil is in a lot of popular hair care lines out there. But what is mineral oil? defines mineral oil as:

"a colorless, oily, almost tasteless, water-insoluble liquid, usually of either a standard light density (light mineral oil) or a standard heavy density (heavy mineral oil), consisting of mixtures of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum by distillation: used chiefly as a lubricant, in the manufacture of cosmetics..."

However, as I began to branch out into YouTube and find more natural women who were experiencing consistent, healthy hair growth, I noticed something: some preferred only all-natural products while others didn't seem bothered by the ingredients in their products. But it didn't matter whether they were using regular products that contained mineral oil or if they strictly stuck to all-natural products. I saw cases of women in both camps who were able to grow long, healthy hair.

So what's the deal with mineral oil? Why are some naturals against using products with this ingredient? Is it bad for our health? After doing some research, here is what I found:

  • Websites that harped on the detriments of mineral oil to our health either provided no scientific support for their claims or the scientific experiment(s) that they did site had no evidence regarding the long-term effects of mineral oil on humans.
  • One article had this warning: "Do not use products that contain mineral oil or petrolatum. Both of these cheap oils clog pores, rob the hair's moisture, and can retard hair growth" ("Using the Wrong Products"). However, my favorite detangling conditioner has mineral oil as its sixth ingredient (the first five ingredients in a product are said to be in the highest quantities) yet over the past six-plus months I have experienced a lot of hair growth. Also, I know my hair is well-moisturized after I do my wash and detangle regimen because it comes out soft (but not too soft) and is easier to comb. 
  • The sites that seemed to be strongly opposed to mineral oil in hair products were almost always sites that were dedicated to natural or organic living. Not that there's anything wrong with that - our family is all about organic when it comes to food - but it left me wondering if the authors' bias was skewing the information.
In the end, you have the final say in what goes into your hair, so you shouldn't let anyone's opinions make you feel bad about your product choices. I went through a short phase where I was opposed to using products with mineral oil. But after researching the facts and finding out that my hair loves my (now) favorite detangling conditioner which has mineral oil, I realized that mineral oil might not be so bad after all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Do I Have to Trim My Hair??

To professional stylists, this must seem like a silly question. And it seemed like a silly question to me, too when I first started wearing my natural texture. Growing up I'd always heard that we had to trim our hair "so it could grow" (which actually is not true - see below). But I didn't know how I could successfully trim my hair if it wasn't blown out or straight.

So I embarked on my no-heat journey without the slightest clue as to how I was going to go about trimming my hair! Finally I did research it, though, and I found that there is a lot of misinformation out there about trimming. Growing up, I'd always heard that trimming your hair helps it grow, but the more I researched, I learned that that isn't true. Trimming helps our hair grow healthier, but it doesn't make it grow longer. Once I stopped and thought about it, it made so much sense! How can cutting your hair make it longer? DUH!! LOL!

After watching a few YouTube videos and reading some articles, I felt that I should go through my hair and only trim off the knots and split ends. I have yet to stretch my hair prior to trimming, so it has been difficult to single out each end that needs to be cut. I had a lot of knots because my hair is so curly, but I was thrilled to discover that I had very few split ends! YAY! I guess I must be doing something right. :)

I haven't developed a trimming schedule yet. I've been doing it really randomly, actually. I think I should definitely stretch my hair and do a thorough trim, though, before I straighten my hair. The idea of straightening knotted hair makes me nervous....

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