Category Archives: Winter

Breakage…again!

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clutch-the-pearls

I did not want to have to blog about breakage again, but here we go. I already know the cause of it:

  1. Not protective styling enough
  2. Becoming lazy when caring for my hair
  3. Using too much heat (blow dryer & straightening brush)
  4. Not moisturizing enough

It’s all shameful because I know better. I know better. However, I took a break from getting my hair braided this winter and I’m paying for it. I became a very lazy natural and now I have breakage as a result towards the back of my head. I noticed more than the usual shedding and unevenness. I have no one to blame but myself, and I know what needs to be done to fix it. I need to do the opposite of all four things I listed above!

I’m going to cut off as much breakage as possible (try to even out my hair back there), give it some extra TLC, and then get my hair braided. It’s time, it’s been almost six months since I’ve been to the shop to have my hair braided. I tried faux loc crochet braids recently (see picture below) but could only tolerate them for almost three weeks because the synthetic hair made my scalp itch horribly! But they were cute! As always, I’ll keep you posted on my breakage saga. 😦

sonya-faux-locs

Protective Styling – It’s Not That Hard!

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So why have I been making it so hard? Or am I just lazy/content with what I’ve been doing thus far? I think it’s the latter. Lately, I’ve been seriously thinking about other ways to protective style that will not hurt my pocket book so much. (I just showed my age saying pocket book LOL!)  I LOVE going to the shop and getting my hair braided, however that’s not always financially feasible. Braids are a wonderful investment that you can get two – three months out of, especially when you find a great hair braider. Crochet braids only last for a few weeks (depending on style and type of hair you use) and then you have to take them down.

In the meantime, I’ve gotten myself into the bad habit of twisting or plaiting my hair and then taking it down the next day to wear a curly fro, then retwisting or plaiting to do it all over again night after night. Well, I’m noticing split ends and extra shedding. Not good. The shedding and split ends aren’t just because of over manipulation. It’s also because I haven’t been tucking my hair away this winter. The cold, harsh winter air has my hair dry and brittle. To be more loving and gentler to my hair, I’ve set a new goal for myself, inspired by fellow Naturalista’s on Facebook. My goal is to leave my hair in a protective style for a week and to keep doing it every week until it becomes a habit. I think this is a great goal for people like myself who desperately need to leave their hair alone.

Yesterday, I had an epiphany. Not only am I going to invest in more colorful scarves so I can wrap my hair in different styles, I’m going to also invest in a WIG! And not just any ole’ wig, I want a good wig that looks like my natural hair. I’ll admit that I’ve been resistant towards wigs for quite some time. I’ve never worn one in my entire life except for a talent show. I’ve always felt that I wouldn’t look right in them. But I’ve now had a change of heart and I’m ready to rock a wig! Maybe it’s because I’m in my 40’s and I no longer care about what other people think. Regardless of the reason, I’m here for them. I’m here for wigs! yaaasssss

Until I get my wig and more colorful scarves, here’s what I’m rocking today to keep my plaits in my hair:

Image may contain: 1 person, sunglasses, hat and closeup

Come through, hat! 😉

Moisturizing My Dry 4c Hair

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Taking my braids down this weekend made me start thinking about how I need to be more diligent about moisturizing me and my girls’ hair, especially with winter coming. I don’t buy a lot of products, so it made me start researching different moisturizing products. I also started to think about the oils I use in my daily or weekly routine and if I needed to make some adjustments there as well. Do I need to stop using certain oil(s)? Do I need to break down and buy a good moisturizer? Could I make my own moisturizer? The following is what I came up with. hair-care-regimen

Now granted, not everything here is new to me. It’s just new to my regimen.

Biotin – In addition to being great for hair and nail growth, Biotin or the vitamin B7  is great for skin health, energy, digestive, and nervous systems. I’ve been taking Biotin on and off for the past year and a half. No reason other than me being lazy and really bad about remembering to take them. 😉 I do notice results when I take them consistently.

Homemade organic mango butter with organic coconut oil*, vitamin E oil, and vanilla essential oil –  Mango butter is rich in oleic acid and stearic acid. These fatty acids act as emollients that soften and soothe the skin and hair. It has a high oxidative ability, wound healing, and regenerative activity. It is high in antioxidants and Vitamins A, C and E. Mango butter has similar qualities as shea and cocoa butter but it’s higher fatty acid content makes it a more intensive moisturizer. It  has a lighter feel than shea butter, so if you find shea butter too heavy, give mango butter a try. My family and I use my homemade mango butter concoction on our body and hair and it’s simply lovely.

Jojoba oil – Jojoba oil closely resembles sebum, a waxy substance produced by our skin glands, so it can act as a natural skin conditioner. Jojoba oil controls hair loss by helping the follicles grow new hair. Jojoba oil can easily seep into the follicles and dissolve the sebum buildup, clearing up the blockage and facilitating the growth of new hair. The vitamins and minerals in the oil can nourish the skin and improve the overall health of the scalp. I know jojoba oil is a staple for many naturals, and I’ve used it in the past but not consistently. I plan on changing that after reading about the many benefits this oil has for your hair and skin.

Vegetable Glycerin – Glycerin improves natural hair moisture and elasticity. It also helps prevent hair breakage, stimulate hair growth and improve hair strength. It has been proven that it is a great conditioner for brittle, dry or frizzy hair. There are debates as to whether or not it’s good to use vegetable glycerin during the cold winter months, and I’ll have to look into this more. Winter isn’t here yet, so until then I’ll continue to use it.

Aloe Vera Juice – Promotes hair growth, moisturizes the hair due to it being a humectant, restores the natural pH balance of the hair and scalp, reduce dandruff, naturally conditions the hair, reduce hair shed, promote hair shine, help heal an irritated, dry, itchy scalp. Another great product to use on natural hair.

Distilled Water – I keep a couple jugs handy at all times to use when I spritz me and my girls’ hair. It’s simply better to use than hard tap water that is full of minerals and other chemicals.

*I put an asterisk behind coconut oil because something hit me about coconut oil: I think it’s been making me and my girl’s hair dry and brittle. After reading article after article of the wonderful benefits of coconut oil, I think our hair doesn’t quite care for it. I’ve used it in every homemade shea butter or mango butter mixture I’ve made, and I’ve also used coconut oil by itself on our hair. After reading other naturalista’s experiences with coconut oil, which are similar to mine, I’m going to stop using it on our hair to see how our hair does without it. I’ll keep you posted.

Here is a quick and easy hair moisturizer you can make and use daily:

In a clean spray bottle add:

  1. Half cup of distilled water
  2. Two tablespoons of aloe vera juice
  3. Two tablespoons of vegetable glycerin
  4. Two tablespoons of jojoba oil

Shake the bottle well and spritz hair with it. Style as normal. Feel free to adjust the amounts as you see fit, based on how your hair reacts. Always test new products on your skin first to check for any allergic reaction.

 

Three Months Later…

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Hello beautiful faces! I’ve been on my new job for three months now and I really enjoy it. As with any job, there are some personalities that just don’t jive well with you, but you press ahead anyway. As far as my hair goes, I continued to rock my curly afro or even a puff when I didn’t have time to really fuss with my hair.

As promised, I got some kinky twists installed back in September, and I am LOVING them! I’ve received many compliments, a few strange looks, and lots of inquisitive stares from those who are itching to ask me about my hair but don’t feel comfortable enough with me yet in doing so. I love the ones who simply come out and ask how the braids were installed or if it’s my real hair, etc. I look at it as an opportunity to educate them on the versatility of African American hair and the many styles in which we can wear our hair.

My plan is to keep braids in my hair over the winter months and keep it protected from the harsh, cold air. Since getting my braids I’ve been thinking a lot about how to care for my hair and scalp with the braids in. Washing my hair – be it in the shower or at the kitchen sink – with braids installed has always been a challenge for me. Be it braids falling out, frizz and new growth showing, the dilemma of air drying your braids versus blow drying them, the funny smells your braids can have depending on the shampoo you use…the list is endless.

Stay tuned to my next post as I share my discovery of a new (to me) and better way of washing my hair with braids. 🙂

TGIF

Winter = Protective Styles

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Here in the midwest we’re in the midst of the dog days of winter. Since becoming natural almost two years ago, I had decided that as part of my winter hair regiment I would get braids during this time. For one, it gives my hair a much-needed rest. During the spring and summer months I primarily rock my afro. The dry, cold winter air is so damaging to our natural hair that you must cover it up and consider some type of protective style to keep it healthy and protected.

Around January 2nd I had crochet braids installed by my sister-in-law Gina. She’s the crochet braid queen in my book! She used Freetress Water Wave hair, 2 1/2 packs. The install from start to finish took about two and a half hours.

SJ Crochet Braids Crochet Braids Jan 15

The picture on the left is the night she installed them. The picture on the right was taken about three and a half weeks later. The hair still looks good, right? I kept these braids in for one month, which is about the length of time they typically last before this type of hair starts to get matted and knotted up at the ends – even with tying it up every night.

To keep my natural hair moisturized, I spritzed my cornrows underneath the crochet hair with a concoction of olive oil, avocado oil, peppermint essential oil, and water. Just put it in a spray bottle and spritz it once a day or every other day.

My second protective style for the winter: Box Braids.

I took down my crochet braids and decided to get box braids right after. It has been years since I’ve had box braids. I’m talking sometime in the mid 1990’s! I didn’t want them to be too big (ala Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice), so I opted for medium-sized ones. The install took about seven hours, and that’s mostly because my appointment didn’t start on time and there were a few interruptions along the way. The good thing about these braids is they’ll last for three months or more, and I typically keep them in for three months. You can still wash your hair with them in, but I wouldn’t recommend washing your hair too often as that will cause you to lose braids and cause too much pulling and friction on your hair. I use the same spritz I used with the crochet braids of olive oil, avocado oil, peppermint essential oil and water to keep my hair moisturized. While I love rocking a big fat bun, it’s not something I’ll be doing on a regular basis because of the pulling and friction it causes on your edges. I am team SAVE YOUR EDGES! LOL!

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