23 April 2012

a quick hair history

i was going through a few pictures and realized i've been trying quite a few things with my hair since december that i haven't had a chance to share just yet. i know i've been lacking with the pictures so hopefully this post will "make up" for that. :) 

i still haven't charged my camera, so these's are pictures from my webcam. but more on that a little bit later

so this was one of my best twistouts EVARRR. my hair was big and perfectly defined and of course i can't remember what i did. :/ i do know my hair was stretched and i think i used saravun's broccoli butter and eco styler gel (the green one).

you can see in the first picture one twist hangs a little (a lot) lower than the others. i retwisted that one twist maybe five times and my hair (especially around the perimeter of my hair) pulls straight very easily.

this was a braidout (done with eco styler with the ends set on sponge rollers) my best friend then pinned up. it was so cute, i wish i took more pictures at more angles. she french rolled the back and we had to continually "edit" the sides with tons of bobby pins lol. i loved it!

after this i blow-dried my hair for the braidout you guys saw in my previous post about it. :)

then i went back into braids like i usually do, although i didn't last for nearly as long as i wanted to. d'ah well. :P
 this is a twistout gone slightly wrong done with donna marie's buttercream. i wanted a cream-based styler because i thought it would work better with stretched hair, but the humectants in this just gave me a huge frizz ball!

this is when i started working on trying to craft the perfect afro. i think this was a braidout, which never works out well for me unless it's on blow-dried hair. 

it was looking at these pictures that i decided i would need to go get my hair shaped. as you can see, i look absolutely ridiculous.

i wore my hair in twists for a week before taking them out friday for an ah-maaaazing twistout! gosh, it was gorgeous. it may not have been the chunky twistout-look i was going for but damn if my hair wasn't gorgeous.

that's before that terrible trim. >:'( 

i never got around to taking pictures of what Sharen did to my head, unfortunately.

so what does my hair look like now?

05 April 2012

i'm gonna be protective styling for a loooong time

because a stylist messed up my hair. :(

okay, not really (or at least not my whole head) but i'm trying not to sensationalize here. it's why i waited a while before blogging about the experience. i wasn't even sure HOW i wanted to talk about it, but i suppose it's best to at the beginning.

two weeks ago, i made an appointment with Sharen at Grand Parlor Barbershop and Salon for a trim/shaping. i called her up and the conversation went great. i explained to her exactly what i was looking for - shape. i've been trying to get my fro into the perfect circle for a while now and finally decided that maybe i needed to give in and get a trim. she sounded super nice over the phone and we briefly discussed my hair and what i wanted to do. i told her that i would send her an email with links to videos that showed exactly what i was looking for. i explained a little bit more about my hair and that i wasn't looking to loose any of my length. 

well last saturday was my appointment and i was so excited. i was just a few snips away from my perfect fro. my hair was in a twistout (a super cute one, at that) and i was ready for her to work her magic. we talked a little bit more about what i wanted; about how my hair hangs, if she got my email and was able to see the videos (to which she replied yes) and proceeded with the trim.

after the first few snips, i asked if i could see what she was doing, to which she replied "i'm not taking a lot off at all." 


she took of HALF MY LENGTH in the back. how is half of my length not a lot? i was peeved but was in a rush so i didn't say anything at the moment. all i knew was that i didn't like it. it wasn't until i got home to inspect the damage that i realized what she did. she took off a few inches on the right side and middle of my hair, meaning the left side of my hair in the back is just as long as i walked in, so you can really imagine the disparity between the two. and to make things worse, my hair STILL doesn't look anything like how i wanted it to.

i was soooo upset :( i wasn't sure what was going to do, or even what i could do. i even toyed with the idea of cutting the rest of my hair down. after calming down, i decided i would just try to protective style for the next few months, and trim my hair myself each month. i plan to take a 1/2 inch off each month, since that's the rate at which our hair grows. i'm keeping up with my vitamins and i'm applying a growth serum every few days just to encourage some circulation. i'm not even sure if i believe in growth serums but i was so upset at the time i just hit buy without calming down first.

while Sharen herself was very sweet and professional, her trimming skills leave a LOT to be desired. :/ this is wash week for me so i'll take pictures so i can show exactly what she did. furthermore, i sent her an email that sunday night expressing how unhappy i was and i have yet to receive a reply so yeah, there's also that. i don't owe her anything, much less any kind of loyalty, especially after she didn't reply to my email. 

i was debating not even saying much because i've seen pictures of her work and she's an excellent stylist and i want her to have as just as much business as she can handle but i just had to blog about it, if only to get it out of my system. if i could sing Hiwot's praises in a salon review, then i'm gonna do it for every stylist afterwards. i hope she googles herself and finds this blog.

so there's a quick update, so sorry it had to be such a sad one! other than that, izzy's doing just fine, just in need of a good washing.

20 February 2012

my future shopping list.

sooo i'm only two weeks into my senegalese twists and already finding myself poring over pages of natural products on etsy, scanning ingredient lists, and evaluating pictures. like i did with my previous post, i figured i should make a list of the things i want to buy so i don't forget when i take my hair down. maybe it'll quell the itch to buy some of these things NOW!

whole leaf aloe vera juice

saravun broccoli hair cream

naturaluxuries avocado moisturizing hair cream

shea moisture moisture retention shampoo

shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie

hair trigger explosive growth elixir *cough*

05 February 2012

in eight weeks

i'm going back into braids today, which isn't too unusual, but of course the urge to experiment with my hair should strike again! in order to keep this enthusiasm, i figured i would make a list of all the things i wanted to try, that way i can keep myself entertained for a few weeks when it'll be time for me to take these braids out again.

i want to try:
*another twist & curl
*bantu knot out on blow-dried hair
*two strand twist into bantu knots
*flexirod set
*flat twistout
*shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie on wet and blow-dried hair
*kimmaytube leave-in

a sweet and simple post. i may add on more if more ideas strike me :)

16 January 2012

my best braidout yet!

i've only ever done a braidout once, during my 2011 summer styling circuit. now that my hair is a little longer and i've perfected my wash routine i wanted to try again. my last braidout came out pretty good (did one last week) and i could immediately tell that my results from braidouts would be a lot more consistent than my twistouts, since i haven't yet nailed the perfect twisting method. i've been wanting to try it on blow-dried hair for a while now, so i finally got to it last night. 

i washed and deep conditioned thursday, so when i sat to do my hair sunday night, my scalp and hair were still clean and my hair was already stretched, which would make blowdrying easier. i started by parting my hair into small, workable sections, about 6-7 all over my head. i detangled each section with a wide-toothed comb, then with my denman. this helped the comb attachment glide through without any snags (i have a conner yellowbird, with i LOVE, it's an awesome blowdryer and super affordable, for anyone looking). i applied a tiny bit of grapeseed oil and blow-dried on low heat. i was surprised at how easy it was and how straight my hair got. if i ever wanted to flat iron on my own, my yellowbird would definitely get me halfway there.

and just for fun, here is a pic of my fro four months ago and how it looked last night! huge difference, right?!

i then took out all those little sections and then sectioned my hair according to how i wanted it to fall and began braiding with saravun's broccoli butter. i "sealed" my ends with a little eco styler olive oil gel before setting on sponge rollers.

the next day (today!), i smoothed a little argan oil over the braids before taking them down. as i took them down i couldn't help dancing! first off, my braids were soft as fugg, shawty. i couldn't believe it, it feels like silk. it's so touchable, light, and bouncy! i had originally wanted a bang, but decided to flat twist the front.

but even more importantly, i found the length and shape i've been DYING for. i'd been mulling over getting a trim to shape my afro but now i won't have to. having super stretched hair was the key i'd been looking for. my hair is just as big as i want it! eeeeeeee!

of course, there are a few things to tweak, but i feel like this is a real breakthrough moment. the broccoli butter didn't give me the definition i was looking for, but it's not a product for hold anyway. next time, i'll pair it underneath a gel. i also think that the straightness was a factor. so next time, i'll stretch it out a little less or just do it on detangled hair. since the light is so hold, i don't expect this to hold up very long but it survived through a nap earlier so we'll see. since it is so floppy and fluffy, i think it'd be super cute pinned up as well, we'll see :)

[review] saravun broccoli hair butter

ingredients: shea butter, castor oil, broccoli oil, camellia oil, vitamin e

this was sent to me by a good friend maybe a week or two ago and i have been using it every chance i get since then! this is one of the products that recently made me realize that i need to start sealing in my moisture with heavier, waterless creams and butters. i'm so happy she sent it to me, so onto the review!

all of saravun's products on etsy are extremely affordable, which i love. she packages her products by weight, so you get 3 ounces of broccoli hair butter (8 ounces by volume), for only $6.00! you can't beat that and that price is only sweetened with the product actually works. her store presents a simple line-up, with simple ingredients (which i like), and the most expensive product is only $8.00. you can't beat that. and if you're lightheaded with the product (which i haven't been :P), the value is increased. 

the jar my butter arrived in is simple and straightforward, with a silver top (which is new for me). it's your standard, functional jar with a straightforward, plain white label. the information is balanced well and the space is well taken advantage of. the print is black and the font is simple and pleasant. one thing i immediately noticed was the simplicity of the labeling, but i don't mind it one bit. 

the scent is also something i immediately, noticed lol. ironically, right before i began using this, i had read a quick thread about the benefits of broccoli oil and the smell. it definitely has a green, veggie scent to it. it doesn't stink, and smells like the produce aisle. since it does have broccoli oil in it, that's too be expected and the presence of the smell lets me know that the ingredients are unrefined. 

when i dipped my finger into the jar, i was shocked! this is an incredibly light and airy butter. my finger just glides across the surface, it's such a treat! it emulsified quickly and easily into the hands and spreads richly onto my hair without being heavy or greasy (depending on how much i glob on).

it's performance is in line with the rest of the review: it's great! on damp hair, it seals in the moisture for days and works wonders on dry hair styling. broccoli oil is said to give amazing shine and it definitely delivers. i remember taking down my rollers from a braid n curl and staring at this one section of my hair, it looked so dark and glossy. i especially like this hair butter for a braidout.

customer service
since i was given this by a friend, i can't comment in saravun's customer service. i haven't heard any complaints, so i'm assuming it'd be a pleasant experience. 

i would definitely repurchase this in the future if i felt so inclined. :) i want to try out a few other products, but this is something i would love to keep in my arsenal. the shine it gives would be great for a flat iron job.

ftc disclaimer: i am in no way affiliated with this company. i was not paid for this review and the product was sent to me by a good friend (who is also unaffiliated with the company, lol). :)

14 January 2012

[review] qhemet biologics amla & olive heavy cream

Castor Oil, Olive Oil, Distilled Water,Organic Amla, Organic Brahmi, Organic Aloe, Methylsulfonylmethane, Vegetable Glycerin, Conditioning Emulsifier (Sorbitan and Cetearyl), Phenoxyethanol & Ethylhexglycerin (a paraben-free and formaldehyde-free preservative), Essential oil blend

ahh, the crowning jewel of natural hair products. the creme de la creme for many a kink, curl, and coil. the piece de resistance for parched ringlets. the holy grail (or pimp cup?) for thirsty fros all across the land!

this joint right here is a classic.

y'all get the point. onto the review, lol.

you can snag yourself a 2 oz sample of this for $5.50, for the full 8 oz jar for 16.50. i can see how some might think this is pricey, so it's great that they offer a smaller size for experimenting. this is one product line that i feel can command this price and i don't think it's at all unreasonable. there's obviously a lot of quality production behind the entire brand, so i wouldn't mind paying that price, especially because the jar will last you the better half of forever.

i opted for the larger size for my first time because the value was apparent for me. i was fully expecting to want to marry this stuff.

it's been a long time since i've experienced anything as well packaged as qhemet's products, honestly, which makes this line such a treat. great packaging can make you excited about a product, makes you excited to use it. the labels are clean and informative, with all the information being well balanced and easy to read. 

even their jars are different. it has a great weight and i love the rounded corners (always a hit with me). i love the opaqueness of it, it gives the product a feel of exclusivity, of importance. whenever something is concealed you want to see more of it! like whatever is inside is precious, lol the plastic feels very sturdy and so far, qhemet has been the only one i've experienced with these specific jars.

i like to save my jars for my own forays into mixology and i'm kind of upset that i won't be able to keep this one, lol (i am selling my jar).

another hit, i love the fragrance! a very light citrusy scent. i love citrus anything and i adore how airy and refreshing this is. it's definitely one of the more unoffensive scents i've whiffed, so light that i couldn't imagine anyone having an issue with it. it plays the background extremely well.

in my opinion, fragrancing products is something that really requires some knowhow and finesse. i honestly think a lot of companies 'luck out' with their scents, and there are only a few lines i can think of where the scents are complimentary to the product, instead of feeling like a scented oil was added in at the last minute. smell goods are a sign of good craftsmanship!

qhemet is batting four for four now! the consistency of this is unlike any other product i've tried. first thing i noticed was the gloss of the product. incredibly smooth to the touch with an amazing weight, very rich, definitely a "heavy cream." there's a polish to it that just makes scooping it out feel so decadent. there's a smoothness to it that your finger feels like it's gliding across the surface. it's more difficult to describe since i don't have it with me at this moment, but it's definitely something to be experienced. very dense, but spreads throughout the hair easily and emulsifies beautifully in the hands.

aaaand unfortunately, this is where qhemet strikes out for me. :'( i've worked with this product several times over the past year and it just never leaves me with this mind-blowing moisture everyone else raves about. i tried it on wet, damp, and dry hair, over a leave-in conditioner, with a tiny amount, with a glob, etc. i know some use it as a deep conditioner, but i haven't tried it that way. i am more than pleased with my other dc's, so i wanted it to perform the way it was originally intended.

for the record, my hair smelt good at the very least but the results just weren't there for me to rant and rave over. i may give it one more shot, i may not. i love all the current products i use now, so i may just be time for me to go ahead and pass it on.

oh well, everyone's hair is different (but leave it to izzy to specifically dislike this!) so i can't be too upset. at least i can say i tried it so i can move on to other things.

customer service
since i ordered last year, i can't comment specifically on customer service, but the order proceeded as most do: smoothly and without a hitch. no complaints here.

will i be repurchasing? no. maybe i'll revisit it a few years down the line and i'll make sure i purchase the sample size.

ftc disclaimer: i am in no way affiliated with this company. i was not paid for this review and the product was purchased with my own monies. :)

13 January 2012

egg treatments are everything. EVERYTHING!

since i'm home for winter break, i've been spending a lot of time experimenting and playing in my hair and having tons of fun! i'm refining my wash routine and trying out some new styles. so far i've had a lot of good ideas, but a lot of misses. 

i'm realizing a lot of things about my hair, including that it's not nearly as thick or as kinky as i'd like. :/ i want a huge, shapely twistout for once! my hair sticks straight out from my head on the sides, and then falls in the back in the worst mullet you've ever seen. the back is both looser and longer so it just looks unnaturally long! i've been considering shopping around for a hair cut (just some shaping), but i'm gonna work with it first.

since i've been manipulating it so often, i wanted to do a protein treatment just to ward off any breakage. i usually do a light protein before/after braids, weave, straightening, etc. i've been halfheartedly using aphogee 2-minute, slapping it on without noting the results. i wanted something a little stronger and didn't want to buy anything so i decided to try an egg treatment.

on freshly shampooed and sectioned hair, i poured one beat egg over my hair, squeezing it into all my twists. it's super runny and i went through two towels (oops), but at least now i know what to do next time. i covered it with a plastic cap and let it sit for roughly 15 minutes before rinsing. i prodded at my twists a little to see if they hardened and they were a little stiff. i thoroughly rinsed twice, undoing those twists that needed extra rinsing. my hair didn't feel dry at all, but i continued on with a new deep conditioner.

oh my lawwwwwwd

i love eggs!

my fro loves protein!

as i applied my dc, my curls were ridiculously springy and defined! as i combed through the conditioner with my denman, my ends did thee most miraculous thing…they curled up, WITH NO FRIZZ.

let's think about that for a moment.

i don't usually discuss my ends at length, but one of my goals this year were to baby them more. they always feel rough and frizzy when compared to the rest of my hair. heavy sealing helps to mask the problem but it wasn't a cure. some were single strand knots, which sometimes search and destroy, some were just frizzy ends. but when i brushed this time…ughhhh i don't have the words to describe it! they just looked so lush and smooth and beautiful. i ran my fingers down the strands and no frizz! NO FRIZZ! no roughness, no nothing.

i also noticed that my hair shrunk up a lot more than last time, which is fine with me. shrinkage is a good sign.

gosh, i love it so much, i wanna do it again lol. i plan to do these at least once a month. my hair feels amazing. next time, i may try it with a bit of yogurt or summin. the deep conditioner i used was amazing as well, holy grail status outcheaaa. i want to review it right now (have it sitting next to me actually), but i want to give it another try by itself so that i can more accurately report my results.

06 January 2012

fugg leave-in condioner (and relearning izzy)

i had ideas to title this post quite a few things, since i have so many thoughts i need to get out. i'm hoping this title captured the overall gist, lol

like i mentioned in my last post, my hair has never been doing better and it has changed the way i plan to treat my hair from now on. while i'm sure the products i used contributed to izzy's newfound nirvana, i want to instead focus on the more basic attributes. products can only do but so much, it's your technique that really matters. it took me a while to learn about the importance of stretched hair and i'm always excited to be learning new things. here are a few things i've learned/changed in my regimen.

1. going through the whole wash day in sections
i never thought i would section my hair. ever. i always thought it was an extra step that i wouldn't have to concern myself with, like only people with freakishly thick hair had to do it. i never liked to do it because my hair previously wasn't long enough for solid sections.

i started sectioning before twisting, just to make the process go a lot faster. it's easier to make smaller sections out of hair that has already been sectioned, let me tell you. i randomly decided to section my hair into large twists after shampooing and continued the rest of my wash session in this manner. and good lawd, it's like the heavens parted or something.

detangling, seaming, and styling was a breeze! the process went by so much faster and easier than normal. it was also a lot easier to keep all my hair under the steamer (my hair isn't particularly big, but the huetiful steamer hood is a little on the small side). i've been forever converted, no joke.

2. moisturize with water, seal with butters/'heavy' creams
for the longest, i was searching for a water-based moisturizer (even though i already loved oyin's hair dew), and i'm not exactly sure why. water makes my hair shrink up, which is the opposite of what i want for a stretched style. i suppose i was convinced waterless moisturizers just wouldn't penetrate. it was just never a viable option for me, for whatever reason.

you've probably heard that water is the best moisturizer, but again… stretched hair. what to do? i decided to try it anyway. on wash days, i focused on sealing my damp hair with butters and that easily gives me week-long moisture. better yet, they play well with gels and with a denman, get my curls poppin'.

since this discovery, i don't feel compelled to shop around for any more products. butter-based moisturizers are all pretty similar to me, and you can make one just as good as anything you could buy (but i like shopping, so i'll just do that lol). 

3. finishing with a cold acv rinse
i'd done this sparingly in the past, without really understanding why i was doing it. i recently bought some more raw acv with the intentions of using it to seal in the moisture/seal the cuticle after washing. last night i used maybe 3-4 tablespoons to 16 oz of cold water. my hair today feels incredibly sleek to the touch. it's hard to describe…like i can feel all my strands flowing in the same direction? idk. the point is, my hair feels too good to ignore so i will definitely continue with this in the future. 

4. changing my twisting technique
this is something that is probably nearly impossible to describe. i have always twisted my hair while twisting the two strands simultaneously. the only thing about this is that my tension (or something) was always off, so my twists looked a little wonky, like they weren't even. but it's hard to break a habit, yknow?

for some reason, in the middle of twisting last night, i decided i would try to re-learn it. one thing that helped me was to constantly say "out" to remind me to twist one strand out while bringing it over. doing this has helped my twists sooo much. they're a lot more uniform and stretched out. i tried to take pictures but i didn't like how they looked on my cell phone, so i'll take pictures next time, for sure.

i feel sooo much better and more excited about my hair now. i'm sure these are things many naturals have already figured out, but that doesn't make it any less exciting for me lol. and unlike products that come and go, or stop working, techniques are something i feel as though will produce consistent results every time and who doesn't want that? 

end of year flat iron + the best wash day ever, man

i hope everyone had a beautiful christmas, kwanzaa, new year's eve/day, etc. :) my izzy has been on quite a few adventures these past two weeks so i wanted to share! so this may be a long post, but at least there are pictures lol

for christmas, i wore a twistout that came out beautifully! i deep conditioned with bee mine's dc and moisturized my hair in sections with my shea butter mix. i typically use this for my body, but it was the only thing i had in my apartment. i did small twists on damp hair all over with some eco styler argan oil gel. the twists took maybe two hours, which is typical, and i wore them for a few days. i took them out on christmas day and couldn't keep my hands out my hair! i got a ton of compliments on the look and will definitely do it again in the future.

unfortunately, i don't have many pictures. i'll have to ask my aunt to forward me the ones she took, then i'll update this post. i do have one cellphone pic, tho:

one thing i learned is that my hair looooves butter mixes! i've unofficially sworn off leave-ins and other moisturizers. simple really is the best thing, man. my hair was moisturized for the entire week, even in this winter air. i literally could not keep my fingers out of my head! omg, even just thinking about it… knowing this is going to make keeping my stash small so much easier. i never quite had my moisturizing routine down and have finally found the perfect method for my hair. even qhemet biologics heavy cream didn't have the same result for me, no matter how much i've tried to love it.

the twistout style lasted well until the following wednesday (dec 28), when i went to a dominican salon for a blowout. it was such an experience: i'd never seen my strands so flat or straight! i didn't get any length pictures, but my hair in the back is actually very long!

straight hair was fun, but i definitely don't know how to care for it too well. i could feel/hear my strands breaking and snapping and see them on the bathroom floor. it just made me paranoid. i kept it for about a week before i decided to wash it out.

now for the best wash day ever…

last night, i shampooed with ors creamy aloe, relieved to see my curls spring back. the heat might've loosened my curl pattern, i can't tell, since i kept my hair stretched for my entire washing, which i had never done before. pattern loosening aside, i had no heat damage, which was my biggest concern since i flat ironed again on my own when my ends got a little frizzy.

i sectioned my hair in twists then applied aphogee's 2 min protein (i always use a protein when coming out of braids, so it made sense to use it now). i like this product, and should review it, since i'm considering perhaps looking for a heavier protein. i rinsed that out, undoing each twist and retwisting it individually. i steamed with a purabody naturals deep conditioner, letting it sit in a while longer after steaming. once that was rinsed out, i finished up with a cold acv rinse.

my original plan was to do some mini twists, but i had plans to go out and was inspired to try a twistout again. i moisturized each section with saravun broccoli hair butter (love!) before breaking it into slightly smaller sections to twist. i changed my method of twisting, which gave me a more plump, uniform, stretched twist (my previous twisting wasn't the best, either). i sealed my ends with jbco.

i haven't taken my twists down yet but i cannot keep my hands out of my head. good lawd, i wish y'all could feel! i tried a lot of new products/methods this time around, so it's hard to say what did what, but i def plan to keep this general process. i'll make a separate blog post about it soon! my twists are so plump and soft, my goodness, are they soft! a little oily on the ends, but i'm always heavy handed with castor oil. i'm also surprised at how stretched the twists are. like i said, i can't be too sure why there is less shrinkage, but i won't complain about it. stretched hair is untangled, happy hair. 

my hair hasn't felt this good in a long time and i just wanna hug myself every time i think about it. i'm hoping this twistout is as banging i think it's gonna be. i'd have more pictures, but i don't have my memory card. :( phone pics will have to be good enough for now! i'll def get some pictures of the twistout once i take these down.