Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kurly Café - My First Natural Hair Meetup!


You are cordially invited to my first natural hair meetup!

I am absolutely THRILLED to be hosting this event with 3rd Element Spa & Salon in Philadelphia, PA! 

Space is limited. Reserve your ticket today at 

This is an event that you will NOT want to miss!! See you there! :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Length Check

November 2011
March 2013

A couple weeks ago while braiding my hair, on a whim I pulled the front down to see how much it had grown. Even after saying good-bye to heat in April 2011, this part of my hair had remained tied with my crown as my slowest growing area. So I was pleasantly surprised when I went into my archives and found the picture on the left from my first straightening in November 2011. You'll notice that the very front of my hair, even though it was straightened, was barely grazing my collar bone. 

I was rushing to get my hair braided when I took the pic on the right a couple weeks ago, so I didn't measure it then. But today I measured from my collar bone to where my hair reaches in the pic with a tape measure (my hair has been tucked away since wash day several days ago, so I wasn't able to measure it directly) and I'd say it measured about 7 inches, maybe 7 1/2 at the most. I'll measure my hair the next time I take it down so I can get an accurate measurement. 

On average, hair grows about 1/2 inch a month; that's about 6 inches a year. The growth documented above occurred within a 16-month window. So technically, although it looks like a lot of growth, it's slightly less than average. But I'm not concerned about it. Here's why.

As I shared above, this has always been one of the slowest growing areas of my hair. When I was little I asked my Mom to give me bangs and ever since that area has not been able to catch up with the rest of my hair. What I didn't know until I began my curly journey is that this lack of growth was not genetic and I could in fact grow it back in again with the proper care. Going natural in 2007 was a step in the right direction, but I was still using heat all the time without protecting my hair. As a result the front of my hair reflects that point in my journey - the last few inches to my ends remain straight, stiff-looking and wiry from heat damage. I'll probably cut it off soon. But I believe my poor hair care practices from the past contributed to the stunted growth in the front.

The slow growth may also be attributed to the fact that the front part of my hair is composed of low porosity strands, meaning the hair has trouble gaining and retaining moisture. (I'll write a post on porosity soon - it's long overdue as this is one of the most important factors in maintaining healthy hair.) Prior to committing to my curly no-heat journey in April 2011, I remember that I couldn't get my hair to grow past my chin. But as you can see in the picture taken in November 2011, I noticed appreciable growth by removing heat from my weekly regimen as the front grew down to my collar bone. But since growth has remained slow for this area even without the use of heat, low porosity may be a contributing factor to the slow growth I've been experiencing with this part of my hair. I may consider steam treatments to help this area as steam helps lift the tightly-packed cuticles of low porosity hair so moisture can enter the strand.

One of the positives about the front of my hair is that it isn't prone to split ends. During my search-and-destroy trim sessions - which are usually performed to some degree every wash day - this section rarely has any splits for me to cut off. 

 ~ Where have you experienced the most growth lately? ~

Baby #2!!!

Now I can finally share with my blog "fam"...We're expecting our 2nd child!!! This isn't your average pregnancy though - it represents the beginning of the end of me. You see, this is technically my 3rd pregnancy. We lost one in August. Jesus is faithful and kept us through that storm and healed us, and I am so grateful. But that experience was a turning point for me. It made me realize that I'd been living for myself instead of for Christ. No more - I'm done. Now that I've seen where that leads (to death and destruction) I don't want that for my life and especially not for my children and the generations that I'll leave behind. The miracle growing inside me is proof that God is always true to His Word. His timing is perfect and none of the struggles that a believer endures in this life are in vain. It comes down to this: do you really trust Jesus with your life?

"He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on HIM the sins of us all" (Isaiah 53:5-6, emphasis mine). 

Whose path are you on?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"Why Isn't My Hair Growing?"

In recent conversations with naturals, I've discovered that little seems to be known about the importance of protein in a hair care regimen. This concerned me because for most naturals protein is a necessary component for healthy hair, especially if the goal is to retain length for the purpose of having longer hair. If your hair doesn't seem to be growing (meaning you aren't retaining length because our hair is always growing) then you may need to add protein to your wash day routine.

Why Protein?

A good, solid regimen provides a balance of protein and moisture. Too much moisture will lead to mushy hair, while too much protein will lead to weak, brittle hair. When I think of protein versus moisture, I think of it this way:

protein = strength & structure
moisture = elasticity

Our hair is made up of over 90% protein. Therefore it is important that our hair is treated with protein products at some point during our regimen - even if it's only once a month. Your hair's protein needs are different from anyone else's, so you have to figure out what's best for you through trial and error. Narrowing down which product(s) are right for your hair is also a process.

Protein Ingredients

If you're wondering how to identify protein in your products, you're not alone. Ingredient lists can be overwhelming. But here are some commonly used proteins in hair products:

- hydrolyzed protein
- keratin
- collagen
- wheat protein
- soy protein
- silk protein
- plant proteins

Protein Categories

There are several options for working protein into your regimen. Which type of protein product you use and how frequently you use it will entirely depend on your hair's needs, your current regimen, your diet, your styling habits (i.e. how often you're using heat), whether you're using chemical processes in your hair...there are a lot of factors to consider. In my mind, protein products fall into three categories:

Protein Conditioners - these are regular conditioners with protein in them; the bottle will often have words like "strengthening" on the front

Light Protein Treatments - these are usually rinsed off a few minutes after application

Intensive Protein Treatments - these are left on the hair and can become hardened if heat is applied; they are then rinsed out and followed by a moisturizing deep conditioner

If you're looking for a protein treatment of any kind, you'll want to make sure at least one protein is within the first five ingredients. Why the first five? These are typically the ingredients that make up most of a product. If your goal is to simply incorporate a protein conditioner into your regimen, then I usually like to look for proteins somewhere in the middle of the ingredient list. This tells me that there is probably an equal balance of protein and moisture ingredients in a product and most likely won't laden my hair with too much protein. But pay attention to your hair! If over time you begin to notice that a protein conditioner is making your hair dry and brittle, then remove it from your regimen until you've restored the moisture-protein balance of your hair.

Protein Precautions

When it comes to protein treatments, one of the most common mistakes is that a moisturizing conditioner/deep conditioner is not used immediately following the treatment. This is the most important point when it comes to using protein products:

always follow protein with moisture!

If you're doing a light protein treatment - such as ApHogee's Two-Minute Reconstructor - then it is a good idea to follow this up with a rinse-out moisturizing conditioner. If you're doing an intensive protein treatment - think ApHogee's Two-Step Protein Treatment - then you MUST follow this with a moisturizing DEEP conditioner that remains on the hair for at least a half hour after your protein treatment has been rinsed out. A good rule of thumb: the length of time you keep the protein treatment in should be the same as or less than the length of time you leave your follow-up moisturizing (deep) conditioner in. 

When moisturizing conditioners aren't used after protein treatments, that is when you'll encounter dry, brittle hair. If this mistake happens repeatedly, your hair will become much more susceptible to breakage and it won't feel soft and manageable. 

What Do You Use?

Since I've gone the more natural route, I use henna to strengthen my hair, which is similar to a protein treatment. Go here for more info on henna. Prior to my natural regimen, I experienced very good results with ApHogee's Two-Minute Reconstructor and used it every wash day for a period of time. I saw decreased shedding and softer, stronger hair. I only recall using ApHogee's Two-Step Protein Treatment once because it was more involved and I didn't care for the smell. Plus when I saw the results I was getting from using their Reconstructor, I realized I didn't need an intense protein treatment.
The body art quality henna I buy from my local Indian store. It costs less than $2 and works great.

I really hope this helps clear up any confusion or concerns regarding protein! Hit me up on Facebook - Forhisglory Natural - and let me know what protein treatment works best for you.
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