Saturday, January 28, 2012


There's something about consistently retaining length that builds your confidence. Before I started this hair growth journey last April, I was easily tempted to jump on any product and/or technique bandwagon that I came across. Then, as I researched more and more, I began to learn about all the "do's" and "don'ts" of caring for natural hair. For the most part, things made sense. But every so often I would come across information that wouldn't make sense to me and I'd become confused. I feel like that can happen to anyone with all the information out there, especially if you're newly natural or unfamiliar with how to care for your hair.

Fortunately for me, I found a regimen that works for me, I stuck with it and now I'm reaping the rewards of consistency. But even now, when on my research kicks I still come across information that runs counter to my regimen or my daughter's regimen. But since I'm retaining length and my strands appear healthy and strong, and my daughter's hair is growing as well, I don't have to concern myself with that kind of info. I can just keep it movin'.

There's a TON of natural hair info out there, and you'll drive yourself crazy if you try to apply it all to your regimen. My advice? Listen to your hair and DO YOU. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Coconut Oil Changes Texture?

The last time I washed my hair, I noticed that it felt, better different. I couldn't tell if it's because my hair is now beginning to weigh itself down due to its length, thereby making the curls appear more elongated and uniform, or if it's due to the coconut oil that has become, at least for now, a permanent part of my regimen. Aside from the appearance of my curls, they also feel softer. Sorry, the pictures aren't that great, but it was already late so I didn't want to stop twisting for the sake of taking better pictures in the bathroom! lol

Dampened hair with Kimmaytube leave-in. I have my
hand behind it in an effort to show you my curl pattern. 
Maybe this one catches the curl pattern better.
It hasn't even been a month yet and already I think the coconut oil has vastly improved the overall texture and consistent moisture of my hair.

Have you been using coconut oil for a while? 
Have you noticed an improvement in your hair as a result?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Hair Today

After wearing my twists for a week, I took them out last night with full intentions of washing
my hair, but upon seeing how luscious and full my twisted locks were, I decided to kick the wash
to the curb and rock the twist-out.
Even after being in twists for a week, my hair is still uber-moisturized, soft and has lots
of sheen. I think I've found the winter regimen that works for me. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

To Steam or Not to Steam

...that is the question.

Seriously though, I've been reading a lot about steamers now. Apparently they're really popular. I'd completely forgot about them until recently, and then did some research. According to one of the company's sites, steamers help open hair follicles and cuticles more (and faster - just 20 minutes) than just wearing a plastic cap for hours, and this allows the moisture from the steamer and deep conditioning treatment to get into those areas, leading to increased moisture retention and softer hair.

As I read up on them, I suddenly remembered that I have been under a steamer before. Back when I was in college and relaxed my hair, I used to go to this salon called Liz's Hair Care up in Boston by Northeastern University (if you're up that way I HIGHLY recommend paying Liz a visit - she is very professional and the service is great). It was a bit of a hike for me but it was soooo worth it. Liz is awesome! Even though it isn't a natural hair salon and she does put in relaxers, she doesn't believe in using direct heat on hair, so my hair was always dried under a dryer on rollers. It felt like it took forever for my hair to dry, and my scalp was sore by the end, but my hair alllllways came out wonderfully soft and feathery. I loved it! And one of the things Liz would do before she set my hair in rollers was sit me under a steamer. At the time I had no idea why or the benefits I was reaping from it, but now that I think about it, I think I can largely attribute all that softness and moisture to the steamer.

Even though steamers are popular, they're also expensive. I only looked at one company's site, but their steamer is $115. For that price, it seems like some naturals prefer to stick to their plastic cap and hot towel. But for others it's an investment that's worth every dime and they can't live without it. I think I'll eventually get one because I know they work well for my hair.

Do you own a steamer? Is it worth it??

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Protective" Styling Redefined?

One of the most well-known protective styles is the two-strand twist. My hair has thrived over the past 9 months, and I believe that can be largely attributed to wearing my hair in twists. But apparently this isn't the case for everyone.
A twist-out
Yesterday I read a post by a guest blogger on A Curl's Best Friend about protective styling. She mentioned how a friend of hers shared that her hair doesn't hold twists or twist-outs well, so she ended up having to re-twist her hair several times a week, therefore making twists a high manipulation style. The guest blogger shared that she experiences the same challenge as well.

When I first started my personal hair growth challenge last April, all I kept hearing was that protective styles such as braids and twists help you retain length by protecting your ends and the rest of your strands. But it never occurred to me that these styling options not only don't work for everyone, but they also might not be protective for everyone either. The guest blogger who wrote the post asked if the classic "protective" styles were high manipulation for other fine-haired naturals as well. Her theory is that, for those naturals with finer hair, the typical "protective" styles actually end up doing more harm than good. Since their hair can't hold the styles for long, they end up having to re-twist or re-braid several times a week, which is more manipulation. So, since the whole point of protective hairstyling is to minimize manipulation, their protective hairstyling tends to lean towards WnGs and puffs. 
A braid-out
Now, when I wear my hair in a puff, it ends up in a tangled, frizzy mess before the day is through! LOL!! And I cannot wet (soaking wet) my hair without having to detangle it - it is SO THICK, which is why I only wet it on wash day. Yet my hair thrives in twists. 

So if this woman's theory is correct - which I believe it is - then "protective" styling is a relative term. For finer-haired naturals, "protective" styling may mean wetting the hair several times a week to achieve a WnG or puff, while for thicker-haired naturals, wetting the hair multiple times a week might be a complete nightmare, but wearing the hair twisted for a week may be a much more desired style.

What's your take on this?? 
Do you have fine hair? What style(s) make(s) your hair thrive??

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Growth Squared!

I find it very interesting that my hair has grown 2 inches in less than 2 months, because in that same time frame I feel like I've grown personally as well. These past two months have stretched me, to say the least. And, even though I know I've progressed and matured to a point where I've never been before, there were times that I doubted my growth. Times when I disappointed myself or became discouraged. Similarly, these past two months I feel like I've made more mistakes and had more setbacks than ever before in my hair growth journey.

When I was taking my twists out to wash my hair the other night and playfully stretched the longest hair to see how far it would go, I was blown away to discover all the growth that had occurred. In spite of everything - the wool scarf causing mats and knots that I had to cut out; the experimental stretching that at times led to my hair being drier than I'm used to - in spite of it hair still grew. It persevered. And so did I. Through the moments when my character was being tested, through the disappointments in myself, through the self-doubt and growing pains...I still grew and I came through the fire stronger than I ever believed I could be. 

The only difference between my significant hair growth and my personal growth? I can, without a doubt, attribute my hair growth to my own abilities and efforts. But my personal growth, now that comes from my walk with the Lord!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

And It Keeps Growing!!

November 22, 2011
January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012

November 25, 2011

Here I'm attempting to show how the hair that
isn't at the longest, fastest growing point has now
reached the length that my longest hair was in November,
which means it's filling in!

Last night after washing I did a quick length check just for fun, totally not expecting to see the growth that I did!!! When I pull my longest hair down in front, it now reaches just below my sternum! I'm almost in disbelief...could it really have grown was appears to be 2 1/2 inches in almost just 2 months...??? Somebody help me, this isn't making sense!! LOL! It's bucking every hair growth "rule" I know! Could it be....the coconut oil?? 

(Sorry the second set of pictures is chronologically backwards. I had some technical difficulties.)

My New Regimen!!!

Drum roll please...
I kept the twists in for the entire time between wash days,
which ended up being 13 days. Keeping the twists in and waiting
until almost the 2-week mark to wash were both totally unintentional moves.
I'd much rather wash my hair once a week (which it seems to need).
But since I started using coconut oil for between-wash moisturizing,
my scalp has been itching much less.
I've changed up my regimen!! 

This is a huge deal for me because I'm learning what works and what doesn't work for my hair. Before I started pre-pooing with coconut oil, I used to use olive oil to detangle and section my hair for washing. I also did a lot of ACV rinses, which were fine for the summer, but apparently my scalp doesn't like them in the colder months, so I cut those out completely. And I always thought olive oil was the best thing for my hair, but I didn't have anything to compare it to. 

Until now! Since I've started the coconut oil pre-poos (and just using coconut oil in general) my hair has been responding so well! It's softer, shinier and altogether just looks, feels and acts healthier. Hooray!!

My new regimen also includes a new step: finger detangling. Now, when I first heard about ladies with hair my length finger detangling their hair before detangling with a comb and/or brush, I thought, now that seems kinda fanatical....But, there's one thing I know about fanaticism and that is this: 

That which is considered fanatical to the undisciplined is passion to the disciplined. 

So now I finger detangle my hair with coconut oil, and by doing so I'm minimizing the amount of brushing I need to do which cuts down on damage.

Other changes I've made:
  • Section my hair into 8 sections instead of 6
  • Co-washing exclusively - no shampoo
  • Only use the Tangle Teezer - no more comb or Denman (more on the Teezer later ;))
  • Add more oils to the Kimmaytube leave-in
  • Seal with Shea Moisture CE Smoothie
  • Moisturize scalp and hair with coconut oil in between washes
These next two aren't regimen-oriented but I think they've definitely helped:
  • Wear a beanie out on really cold days
  • Replaced my winter wool scarf with a satiny one
Thanks to these changes, my hair feels stronger and healthier!

The amount of hair that came out after finger detangling
(don't worry - I didn't run it down the sink, lol!). I'm assuming
it's mostly shed hair. I don't take the time to look through it
cuz I don't want to stress out over every single hair. 
Sectioned into 8 instead of 6. This makes
washing and Teezer detangling easier and faster.

I took this picture to show how moisturized
my hair was up until wash day. I pre-pooed my
hair (while still in twists) and scalp with coconut oil
4 days prior to wash day, which was yesterday.
I'm amazed at how soft and moisturized it stayed
between washes.
What changes have you made to your regimen? 
How has your hair responded?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Natural Hair Challenge 2014

A few months ago I stumbled upon this movement called the Natural Hair Challenge 2014. At the time I was still in the midst of my no-heat growth challenge, so the mission of the Challenge caught my eye. Since then, I've jumped on board and am now a Correspondent for the movement. I am so thrilled to be a part of this project!

What is the purpose of the Natural Hair Challenge 2014? Its founder, Leesa Burt, says the Challenge:

" for Afro American Women who desire longer hair to challenge themselves to grow their own hair to a length that is satisfactory to them. After two and a half years, we want to eliminate the tendency to wear wigs, weaves and braid extensions. Our goal is to grow out our own hair 'Naturally' without any chemical relaxers or perms."

Joining the Challenge is FREE at and you can grow your hair out however you choose: braids, wigs, twists, etc. Two years can be a long time in a lot of people's minds, but really, for growing a healthy head of hair, it's a great amount of time because you're giving yourself room for error (after all, there is a learning curve for getting to know your hair) and growth. But it's still an admiral goal, so for support I'd definitely check out the site. Leesa has provided a great list of resources and inspiration that include videos, blogs, etc. (and I'm very humbled that she mentions my own as well!).

By June 2014 I look forward to sharing in your joy of having longer, natural hair! 

Dealing with Heat Damage

As most of you know, I have quite a bit of heat damage in the front as a result of my years of blow drying and flat ironing (oh, and did I mention that I flat ironed with cheap oil in my hair and many times flat ironed my hair when it was dirty?? Yeah...I had it bad).

Well, while twisting my hair two nights ago, it finally hit me: why not braid the heat-damaged twists (in the front, pictured below) while they were still damp, right after I finished twisting? By allowing the twists to dry while braided, I figured I could achieve a similar texture to the rest of my very curly hair when I took the twists out. Check out my results below. ;)
After twisting
The twists in the front, after I braided them up.
Took out the braids this evening and TA-DA!! SO thrilled with
my discovery! And I'm still LOVIN the healthy sheen. Woo hoo!
Getting to know my hair feels so good :)
Do you suffer from heat damage? How do you blend the textures?

And It Just Gets Better...!!!

I took this picture after removing my satin scarf yesterday morning. Now, my hair always has a nice, healthy sheen to it when I use the Kimmaytube leave-in. But this time the sheen was just ridiculous, and although I made some changes to the leave-in recipe, I'm convinced my results are because of my overnight coconut oil pre-poo. I couldn't believe how healthy it looked! And can we say soft and incredibly moisturized?! Holy cow, I was blown away!! I am so in love with coconut oil now!

These are the changes I made to the Kimmaytube leave-in. I added:
  • About 1.5tsp of coconut oil (melted)
  • 2tsp Vitamin E blend
I added the Vitamin E blend to the recipe last time I made it, but this was my first time adding coconut oil. Shoot, after reading about all its benefits, it's hard not to use it all the time, lol! But, to be fair, I added it to my leave-in so I could skip a step while twisting. The past few times I've twisted my hair, I've applied coconut oil first, then the leave-in, then Shea Moisture's Curl Enhancing Smoothie. This layering of moisture has been great for my hair. I love how it feels and looks afterwards! I learned from Chai at Back to Curly (awesome blog - definitely recommend that you check it out!) that this works great for my hair because the Smoothie seals in the moisture and oils from the leave-in conditioner. I always used to think it was the reverse - that you seal in moisture by first applying a moisturizing cream (a cream that contains water) and then sealing in the moisture from that with an oil. Apparently that isn't the case with my hair. No wonder my hair has been loving this regimen! :)

If you're going to add melted coconut oil to the Kimmaytube recipe, I should warn you that it does harden again, so you'll have little pieces of coconut oil in the mixture after the coconut oil solidifies. I only melted it so I could mix it in easily. The pieces didn't bother me though as it didn't affect my styling ability or the application process.

Thumbs UP for Coconut Oil!!

I was very pleased with the results of my coconut oil pre-poo (or is it a "no-poo pre-poo" since I only co-washed? lol). So pleased, in fact, that I could not wait to share the results with you all! (I had all intentions of posting this last night, but then passed out with my daughter when she went to bed, lol.)
Isn't the sheen AMAZING?! I started taking
pics halfway through twisting (almost forgot!)
so my hair had air dried a lot at this point.
               Yet it still retained this amazing sheen! 
I know my hair looks dripping wet here, but
it's actually only the ends. The rest of the hair
in the shot was damp but definitely not soaked,
and still shiny :)

So I'm sold! I did the same for my daughter's hair and experienced similar results. Now to work this into my regimen by turning it into a habit (21-28 days). I'm excited to see how these coconut oil "no-poo pre-poos" work in the long run. If my hair turns out this soft and shiny after only one wash, then it can only get better from here!

 Do you use coconut oil to pre-poo? How does it work for you?


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Preserving Styles Overnight

For those of you with hair that is shoulder-length or longer, here is a great trick for preserving your hairstyle overnight. If you're a wild sleeper like me, lol, you'll find this very helpful.

It's called "pineappling." (We naturals have such funny names for our tips and tricks, don't we?) Take a big hair tie (I like to use nylons for my hair ties; I just cut and tie them and I can make any size I need), lean forward, bringing all your hair to the front, and gently pull all of your hair into the hair tie at the top of your head. Be sure to leave it as loose as possible so you don't wake up to unwanted dents in your hair the next morning. Cover your head with your satin scarf or bonnet at usual (or sleep on a satin pillow). The next morning, simply let down your hair, shake it out and you're good to go! Happy pineappling! :)

Coconut Oil and...WHAT??

While researching the benefits of coconut oil, I came across an interesting term: hygral fatigue. I know, it sounds a bit involved and maybe it reminds you of those dreadful days of high school chem class, but it's really simple. Hygral fatigue is the swelling and shrinking that happens as a result of washing and drying our hair. When hair gets wet it swells with water, lifting the cuticles and possibly exposing the cortex, which is the innermost part of the hair shaft. When it dries, this affects the cuticles as well. In order to avoid damage, in most cases it's better to ensure that the cuticles are raised as little as possible, as the raising and closing of the cuticles puts more stress on them. And when cuticles can't close or are damaged, then the cortex becomes exposed and the overall integrity and health of that entire hair strand comes into question. 

So how do we minimize cuticle lifting during the wash process? I've been reading that using coconut oil as a pre-poo treatment is a great way to do this. Apparently, due to the chemical makeup of coconut oil, it has an affinity for the proteins in our hair, therefore minimizing protein loss during the wash process by preventing the hair strands from swelling with too much water. I've also read that coconut oil is one of the fews oil out there that can penetrate the hair shaft. 

Of course I had to put this to the test. Last night I sectioned and applied melted coconut oil to my scalp and hair. (I scooped some out, put it in a little container and sat the container in a bowl of hot water until it melted. I was surprised that it stayed in liquid form for a couple hours.) This was my first time using coconut oil to moisturize my scalp. I just had to do it to see what everyone has been raving about. It has antimicrobial and conditioning properties, meaning it'll keep your scalp clean (bonus!) and healthy. Anyway, I left my hair sectioned in my Goody hair ties and slept in my satin scarf as usual, with a towel on my pillow so the coconut oil wouldn't go through. Tonight I'm going to co-wash. (I've been co-washing whenever I can, but on my last wash day I had to shampoo because of all the product buildup.) I'm excited to see if my hair comes out as soft and shiny as everyone says it will after pre-pooing with coconut oil. Stay tuned! :)
Told you guys I have a lot of hair!! LOL!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Banding = Big, Fluffy Hair!!

After banding my hair for the third night in a row, it was dry and ready to be taken out of the hair ties. The result? Big, fluffy hair!!!
Although big, fluffy hair is not my preferred look,
I looove my big, puffy ponytail :)
Whoa, bigness! LOL!
Notice the little fuzzy hairs at the top of my head?
This is what I was talking about in my post on new hair growth.

Christmas '11!

I completely forgot to post Christmas pics! And for someone who loves Christmas as much as I do, that is shocking! 
I pulled it back into a half ponytail because I still haven't
figured out how to tame the front of my twisted-out hair.

My style was simple and easy, just how I like it. :) I "dry" twisted my hair a few days prior, then took out the twists before dinner on Christmas. It was soooo silky looking and shiny! By "dry" twisting I mean I used only a teeny bit of water, which I mostly spritzed on my ends, and then applied my shea butter blend from close to my roots all the way through my ends, focusing it on my ends. This was my first time dry twisting my hair in months, and the first time this winter. I have to say I really enjoyed my twists being longer and more stretched out, as opposed to their post-wash, shrunken and springy state.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Banding: Night 3

I didn't remove the bands I put in last night. Only went out once today so I pulled them together in a high ponytail and rocked my beanie. By leaving them in I was making sure they were completely dry since my hair is so thick and takes forever to air dry. I'm excited to take them out tomorrow and see how my hair turned out. :)
Divided the sections in half and made two large twists leading to
the front of my head for bedtime. Secured with bobby pins and put
on my satin scarf. I look like I'm going yodeling, don't I? LOL!
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