Friday, November 16, 2012

Heatless Waves on Straightened Hair

I am thoroughly enjoying wearing my hair straight this week. My hair is the longest it has ever been and it's been a looooong time comin'! LOL! But I quickly grew bored with bone straight hair so I did a little experimenting. I wanted to add waves to my hair without using more heat. I once watched a Kimmaytube video where she used Bantu knots to add waves to her already straightened hair. After perusing YouTube the other night and coming up empty handed for other heatless methods for my hair type, I decided to do the Bantu knots.

I conditioned my hair with coconut oil (my hair loves coconut oil), focusing on the ends so they would be smooth. I thoroughly brushed my hair with my Denman then did a zigzag part from my crown on down the back of my head (picked up this tip from Nina Pruitt of YouTube; it helps you blend your hair better once you take it down). Then I took one section at a time and set each knot in the direction that I wanted my hair to fall (picked up this tip from my Mom last night, God bless her! she's so knowledgeable about hair!). To secure each knot I put a bobby pin at the base. The results were, well, you tell me! I love it!! More body instead of just straight hair. Lovin' it!  I was only slightly disappointed because when I did it the first time it didn’t hold very long, which I kind of expected since I hadn't used a product to set it (didn't want to add to the already heavy load of products on my hair from the straightening process...silicones, etc.). BUT I noticed that after a few nights of doing this my hair did hold the waves better. :) Note: I took all the pics right after take down.



*Update: I simplified this technique by conditioning my hair each night with coconut oil, focusing on the ends, and twisting my hair into two buns-one at the crown and one in the back, then covering with my satin scarf. Every morning I would take down the buns to reveal wavy, shiny hair. On my really lazy nights I would only twist my hair into one bun at the crown and I would still achieve desirable results. Also, I learned something new about my hair: when it's straight, even though it's strong, it still needs to be handled with care when it comes to keeping it tangle-free. I found that my ends really suffered from using the Denman and/or wide-toothed comb too much while my hair was in its straightened state.

Waist Length...Technically

I’m not even sure how to start this post because when I straightened my hair four days ago (which was the first time since May) I wasn’t expecting much growth because I hadn't been as diligent with my regimen. So I was definitely surprised to discover that it had grown to my waist at its longest point. And to be quite honest, I wasn’t that excited. I know, I know. It’s been a goal that I’ve been focusing on for months and it’s because of that goal that my hair has grown at all. But it didn’t happen the way I intended. Okay, now I sound like I’m whining so let me start over.

When I set a goal, it’s all good if I hit the goal, but if I blow it out of the water and hit it with excellence or better yet surpass it, then I feel like I’ve succeeded. Yes, I hit my goal of waist length hair…but it wasn’t with healthy ends so it doesn’t really count to me. I take full responsibility for the split ends though. A combination of laziness and lack of time contributed to those unhealthy ends for sure.

I’ve always envisioned having a full head of healthy hair when I hit the goal, so that is my goal still. But I took pictures of my length check on Monday so I can remember this moment of my journey. It serves as a crucial reminder of the Slight Edge (a must-read, by the way) and how everything in nature–especially us–is in a constant state of either growth or stagnation and decay. We have control over where we fall on that scale by the little things we choose to do or not do every single day to improve ourselves and grow. I’m not doing the book any justice though. It is the precursor of all “self-help” books, the foundation upon which you build self-help principles. A must-read, as I said.

I trimmed it on Tuesday because I couldn’t stand how the ends were tangling. Then I had my Mom check my work and take off a little more yesterday (she’s the only person I allow near my head with scissors! Lol). I still love my long hair, even though it’s a bit shorter now. And I must say, I am really enjoying wearing my hair straight! I think I might wear it this way more often…hmm….

I’m sharing the pictures to inspire other ladies out there who may read my blog and wonder if they too can have long, healthy hair. If you’ve never read my bio on here, having long hair down my back has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. If I can do it, anyone can do it! Be encouraged, Ladies!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I feel like that's what my hair has been screaming since I added green tea to various parts of my regimen. It seriously feels like the "missing link" to my routine and I am so happy I found out about it! 

So why green tea? Apparently this antioxidant-rich beverage is acidic like our scalp and hair, which have a pH of anywhere between 4.5 and 5.5. That is why it's best to use pH-balanced products and/or products that are slightly more on the acidic side. Products that match the acidity of the hair close the cuticle. More on this in a moment....

When I first added green tea to my regimen, I'd use it as a final rinse after washing. But once I saw the results - soft, clumped curls with incredible slip - I became curious and began experimenting with it. My most brilliant idea yet (well at least I think it's brilliant, lol) has been my green tea spray bottle. In the natural hair world I'd always heard that it's important to keep a spray bottle with water (distilled or purified if you have hard water) so you can keep your locs moisturized. This is true. But let me tell you, the day I switched out plain distilled water in my spray bottle for green tea was one of THE best days in my natural hair life!!

And my daughter's hair? Oh my gosh, it works wonders for her hair! It absolutely loves green tea. Her hair is now softer, more moisturized and less frizzy, and easier to detangle. I mean, her curls POP!!

Ok back to the chemistry part (who would've thought I'd be so interested in chemistry in my adult life?? lol!!). Before I discovered the many benefits of using green tea in my hair, I used to think the only way for my hair to get properly moisturized was by opening the cuticles and adding moisture and then sealing them. But this is what I've figured out that has literally changed the way I look at my hair care routine: 

The majority of the steps in my regimen need to keep my cuticles closed. Why? Because closed cuticles equals fewer tangles, and fewer tangles means less damage when I detangle. 

Now, I know all about steamers and how they work. I've been under one before and my hair felt buttery soft afterwards. So I know and understand that using steam and indirect heat to open the cuticles and help deep conditioners penetrate the hair shaft are beneficial and effective. (I've also donned a plastic cap and sat under a bonnet dryer to get the same results but for some reason that hasn't really worked for my hair.) So, since I can't get a steamer anytime soon, I have to work with what I've got and with what I can do, and keeping my cuticles closed seems to be working for me.

Here are some other ways I've incorporated green tea into my regimen:
  • Conditioner - I add green tea to my water-based conditioner, along with olive oil and grapeseed oil. Stir until smooth.
  • Shampoo - When I need to use a sulfate shampoo, I add the shampoo to a separate spray bottle and dilute with green tea instead of plain water. My hair feels much less dry and still has some slip.
  • Style - Instead of using regular distilled water to style my daughter's hair, I dampen her hair with green tea then add a little Shea Moisture Reconstructing Conditioner as a leave-in. The green tea and conditioner work together to seal moisture into her hair. Her hair is silky soft afterwards.
Note: after brewing the tea you have to refrigerate it.

My first braid-out that I set using green tea. Oh! And my braids dry
FASTER when I set them with green tea! BONUS!!!
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