Thursday, June 23, 2011

a bit of randomness: double buns

i tried out a variety of styles last week for my natural anniversary, some kinda hot and some.....well, at least it was different, right? i normally pull my bangs back with a bobby pin or wear a high bun to prevent them from sticking out (fyu: the bangs i cut in january are past my nose and headed for my chin!), but last week i took to wearing them in a large two-strand twist or pushed to the side. how funny that a small change like that could cause a bit of a stir at work, since the lab is the LAST place people usually experiment with different hair and makeup looks!

on wednesday, i decided to go a little old-school and rock some fun pigtails. at the last minute, i folded them into buns and headed out the door. i definitely got some strange looks, but i also got lots of compliments. definitely a look i'll repeat in the future!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

three years solid!: my june length check

as some of you may know, i recently celebrated my third natural anniversary on june 13th. (yay!!) i was hesitant to do a length check since straightening with all the humidity this time of year would be pretty pointless, but curiosity got the best of me last week when i was prepping my hair for a wash and go. i had noticed in the days following that ponytail picture i posted recently that my hair was, in fact, past my shoulders when secured in a DRY low pony. this made me wonder....i mean, this didn't happen when i was BSL...could it be that i had gotten to MBL by my goal date??
turns out.....i was right! i do believe that this is the first time in all three years that i have reached a goal on time....what a great feeling though. even though i did this to get rid of the curiosity that was plaguing me, i didn't accomplish THAT goal. funny thing is, it made me want to straighten it all out even more. welp, the countdown to cooler weather begins....

it would be awesome if i could make it to waist length before the year is out. i usually set goals for the latter half of the year around my birthday in october, but i'm gonna need some wiggle room on this one. i am pretty sure i will need a 1-2" trim...not to mention that will give me time to find my almost nonexistent waist *smile*.

thanks for looking, guys!

Friday, June 10, 2011

sephora haul + diorshow maximizer lash plumping serum pre-view

i've been trying to get to my local sephora for a few weeks now, but i'm usually so exhausted after work that i don't feel like driving out of the way to walk around the mall. last weekend i ran out of mufe hd foundation and my hand was kind of forced, so on monday i dragged my boyfriend out to southpoint so i could play in makeup.

i've been dying to pick up a lash primer since my friend mina made a blog post last month on long, dramatic, way-out-there-but-still-natural-looking lashes. it featured a youtube tutorial by the fab @shannontboodram of those girls are wild, and the pics alone were enough to convince me that this was something i needed in my life. after scooping up the mufe foundation (#153 for me), i made a beeline to the smashbox lash primer. although i already knew i wanted it, i tried it on just for kicks (making sure to test it out with BE flawless definition, since that's my go-to mascara these days) before heading directly to the register. right before i made it to the line, i was distracted by a group of women getting these outrageously glam false lashes applied...then BOOM -- i was sidetracked by a salesgirl named nicolette. i generally try to avoid the sales associates because they are incredibly adept at separating me from my money and selling me something i really don't need (that, or maybe i'm just gullible), but nicolette, a pretty brunette michelle trachtenberg look-alike, made enough small talk to make me WANT to try her recommendation. after asking me why i chose that specific primer, she began talking up a discovery she made a few months ago. the next thing i knew, i had swapped out the smashbox lash primer for diorshow maximizer, a primer that is more of a serum and lash enhancer....and also $12 more.

back when i started this blog, i was a diorshow mascara freak, and although the formulas are pretty great (especially iconic), the pretty packaging is probably what kept me loyal to the brand for about three years. i switched about a year ago when i stopped being such a mascara brand whore (haha) and discovered bare escentuals flawless definition, a formula that gives me a little volume and lots of length without being too flashy or dramatic. in conjunction with the diorshow maximizer, though, i have these incredibly fluttery, thick, long lashes with just enough curl to them that i can skip the eyelash curler. seriously....they would probably brush up against the lenses of my glasses if they weren't curled! according to dior, this primer also "promotes long-term lash growth, strength, and vitality," something i didn't even know a primer could do. if what they claim is true, it'll be way more than the packaging that keeps me repurchasing this.

full review on the maximizer, complete with before and after pictures, coming soon!

Monday, June 6, 2011

north carolina natural haircare expo 2011 -- who's going?

i got wind of an upcoming natural hair expo here in the triangle this coming weekend via my new twitter account....and i couldn't be more excited!

the event, which will be held on the 11th and 12th in raleigh, will have "various LIVE entertainment, artistic flare from surrounding salons, jewelry makers, lecturers who specialize in holistic health, mind, body, and spirit." the class schedule is also posted, and i gotta say the one about starting your own hair care business looks GREAT! hopefully i'll be able to get off work in time for that particular class....but if not, i'm sure i'll find something equally interesting.

interested? you can get more info, including the schedule of events and participating vendors, here.

followup to "the score: giovanni smooth as silk shampoo"

i don't like to shampoo my hair.

i tried the giovanni SAS shampoo about a day or two after i blogged about it. i love everything about it, the smell, the texture, the feel....but what i don't love is how it made my hair feel, and of course, that's the most important thing here. *big collective sigh*

my method of shampooing is to apply the product to my fingertips, then distribute it on my roots, since a) the purpose of shampooing is to clean your scalp and b) it's the best and quickest way for ME to tell how it's going to affect my hair. for those shampoos that work well with my hair, like aubrey organics gbp and kinky curly come clean, the suds will simply distribute down to my ends and my hair will feel clean, but not stripped or extremely dry. for those that we (me and my hair *smile*) can't get along with, like ALL shampoos with sulfates, organix shampoos, and unfortunately giovanni SAS, my fingers get trapped in my roots and i have to use half a bottle of conditioner to add the moisture back in. it's shampoos like these where i have a serious problem on my hands if i don't DC after washing.

before i relegate it to the body wash stockpile (or give it away), i think i'll try mixing in some conditioner as i shampoo my hair. i've heard this can cut down on the drying effect. anyone know of any other tips and tricks that can cut down on this tangling effect?

something's a little different...

if you've been around these parts for a while now, you may have noticed the new twitter feed over in the side bar. last week, i created a twitter account for my up-and-coming site....and it went live yesterday! in one day i hit 100 followers, and i couldn't be more excited. thanks so much for the support, and of course i'll keep you guys posted on the site's progress!

in the meantime, follow @NaturalHairMojo HERE!

the ever-growing ponytail + sealing

i have some super exciting news that i can't WAIT to share.....but i also have an awesome pic of my ponytail that i too last night after cowashing!

sigh.....if it only looked like this post-shrinkage...maybe one day. =)

i cowashed with tj nourish spa, used a t-shirt to soak up most of the water, added more tj nourish spa back into my damp hair, sealed with sweet almond oil and let it hang! sealing is something i struggle to be consistent with, as my long-time followers know....but i've been better with it for the past few weeks after a conversation with elle (@curlyheadedpj on twitter). we were discussing humidity, leave-ins and sealing and how the NC weather affects all of these things when i decided that maayyybbeee i'd better give it a try to keep in the moisture on these hot, hot days. since then, i've found that a quarter-sized amount of sweet almond oil is enough for my ends.

as i've also stated before, i think there's a noticeable difference between my hair when it's sealed vs. when it's not sealed...for instance, the pic from last night's blog entry shows my hair in an unsealed state (is that a word? it's fluffier, less defined and seems to feel dry faster without it. softer? yes...but i'd trade the teeny bit of softness i lose for the other benefits any day!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

sunday randomness

found this on my boyfriend's camera. not the greatest picture, but i think my hair (just a simple WNG) looks pretty great. ;)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

the score: giovanni smooth as silk shampoo

i could have never predicted yesterday when i wrote that post on giovanni SAS that i would run across the deal i found today at my local whole foods! i made a pit stop after work to pick up some macaroni elbows and a bag of apples ( and i saw a small display of giovanni styling products near one of the registers. instead of looking through the various gels, pomades and creams as was the intention of the rack, i made a beeline for the health and beauty section, realizing that a sale on styling products probably meant a sale on the shampoos and conditioners, too. boy, was i right....everything from the tea tree line to the 50:50 products and my beloved SAS are on sale this week for $5.59 a bottle. what's more is many bottles have a $1 off manufacturer's coupon attached to them, making them only $4.59, a great buy since they are usually $7-8. while it is still more economical to get the liter bottle, i documented my troubles with that already, not to mention the smaller size lets me pick the ones i want to try WHEN i want to try them. today's pick was the SAS shampoo. although i haven't tried it yet, it sounds promising...

*on the scale from clarifying to moisturizing, the bottle claims that this product is the most moisturizing of their line.
*it contains no sulfates, an additive that I KNOW dries out my hair and skin.
*this shampoo is certified vegan and it's good for me and the environment.
*it contains vegetable protein, which the label claims "cleanses gently," "alleviates frizz," and even "increases shine."

well, we'll see if it's all that is claims to be. if not, my search for that elusive perfect shampoo will continue!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the ups and downs of trader joe's nourish spa conditioner

about a year ago, i made the (unconscious) decision to switch to all- or mostly natural hair care products. not that i have anything against my beloved VO5, herbal essences or ion products, but as part of an overhaul of my diet and general lifestyle, it just made sense to convert my hair products, too. it wasn't as hard on my wallet as i thought: i find giovanni products on sale at my local whole foods pretty often, i caught a killer sale on aubrey organics, so i'm good on DC for a while, and there is always marshall's and tjmaxx when i need a liter of giovanni smooth as silk or 50:50 (a product i haven't tried.....YET). as for some of the more "trendy" lines, kinky-curly is more expensive than i am used to, but one bottle of come clean shampoo lasts me a few months, and since i don't care too much for the curling custard and knot today, i don't have to break the bank on the whole line. jane carter, shea moisture, qhemet biologics and oyin handmade are next on my list. however, the frugalista in me loves the fact that there is a cheapie line i can turn to: trader joe's nourish spa.

while i haven't tried the shampoo (y'all know how finicky my hair is with that stuff), i believe i actually talked about tj nourish spa conditioner quite some time 2 or 3 years ago. back in the day, i couldn't decide if i liked it or not, since it seemed a little too thick for a cowash conditioner, but not quite nourishing enough to use as a DC. well....though i haven't really talked about it, the conditioner has actually been a part of my regimen for a few months now.

i have heard for a loooong time that it is comparable to giovanni smooth as silk, but since i never used that specific giovanni product, it didn't matter to me. that all changed around december of last year when i found the entire giovanni line on sale for $5 at whole foods and picked up the smooth as silk conditioner instead of the direct leave-in. as some of you may know, i'm from the "i'll try anything once" school of thought, so it wasn't a huge decision to grab the SAS instead of GDLI, especially since i was trying to decide if i liked the new version of GDLI as much as the other. long story short? it was great as a DC, but ROCKED as a cowash conditioner AND a leave-in!

now i'm not gonna lie, i'm used to getting a lot more conditioner for $5 (i believe their products come in 8oz bottles) but my hair was responding so great that i said 'forget it' and kept purchasing. i was in heaven when i came across the liter pump bottle at tjmaxx for $12.99, but being that i could only find the SAS in virginia, that joy didn't last too long. while i continued to run into the two local stores every week hoping to find a stray bottle, i decided to give tj nourish spa another go. i guess it was because i fell in love with SAS, but this time my hair responded IMMEDIATELY to nourish spa -- it stays soft, moisturized and tangle-free, and i can go longer without cowashing, too. i call it my "triple threat" since i can use it as a DC, cowash and leave-in. besides, it's got the other things on my "dream hair product" list: no offensive smell, readily available, pretty good ingredients, and fantastic portability. since i (re)discovered tj nourish spa, i've gifted it to my mom, sister and recommended it to a few coworkers as well. i mean, who doesn't need a multipurpose, all natural, CHEAP conditioner/moisturizer/styling product?

not bad for $3, huh?

ingredients: purified water, organic rosemary oil, organic valencia orange citrus, organic mango, organic lemongrass, organic ginko biloba, organic echinacea, organic willow bark, organic sea kelp, organic chamomile flower, organic textured soy protein, organic lavender, organic grapefruit citrus, tocopherol (Vit E), acetamide MEA, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, methylparaben, propylparaben, botanical fragrance

read the amazon reviews here!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

lion's mane

after rocking a WNG for a few weeks, i decided to blow out my hair. although the idea itself was pretty spur of the moment, the process was still fairly exhiliarating -- i got to buy new hair toys! of course i would need a blow dryer for this, so i used the opportunity as an excuse to purchase a babyliss pro dryer and joico k-pak smoothing balm from tjmaxx. i also got a chance to try out one of my new aubrey organics deep conditioners -- in one word, the gpb is FANTASTIC!

i worked in small sections with my denman *memo -- get a comb attachment for this blow dryer* and knew i was getting somewhere when my SO did a double take and exclaimed "wow, your hair is LONG!" -grin-

i actually wore it like this for a few days, even daring to take my lion's mane to work with me in all its glory. the thing i LOVED? it made a pretty full bun, something me and my fine hair don't get to experience that much. however, for most of its 3 week lifespan, my hair stayed in a french braid or two.

all in all, i felt as if everything went fine, considering my technique leaves something to be desired. now that the warm months are quickly approaching, i am reconsidering holding off on my next REAL length check until september or so. i just think of what i went through last summer after i foolishly straightened my hair in june and....well, shudder. LOL

springtime in the gardens

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.
~Ruth Stout

Sarah P. Duke Gardens, April 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

spring wishlist update: MUFE blush + moisturizer comparison

as stated a few posts back, lately i've been drooling over this beautiful coral-y blush by MUFE called "quickie." it was getting to the point where i was obsessing over it, so i finally went out to purchase it and am so in love! as per my usual routine, while in the mall one day i made a beeline to sephora, and while there i asked a MUA to apply the blush to my cheeks just so i could make sure it was as lovely in person as i thought it would be. i then got a sample to take home and try myself -- God forbid i purchase it, get all excited, then be unable to duplicate the fab look done in the store! thankfully for me, the cream formula was easier to apply than i thought it would be. blush is one of my favorite makeup items, but all the ones i owned up until this point were of the powder variety, and truthfully i was a little intimidated by the shockingly bright cream in the pump bottle that i saw on display at sephora. armed with my essence of beauty blush brush, i went for it....and actually got it right! after wearing it to work one day, i knew i needed it, so when my SO picked me up and suggested a trip to the mall, i was all for it.

not only did i snag the blush, but since i am in the market for a good moisturizer that i can wear under my makeup, i also got samples of the DDF ultra-lite moisturizing dew, as well as the sephora instant moisturizer. i have become a true OCM (oil cleansing method) junkie and love, love, love moisturizing with EVOO, castor, grapeseed or sweet almond oil, but they are not very foundation-friendly. from my initial testing, the DDF seems really great, and i can tell why it is one of their consistent best sellers: it is non-greasy, wears very light (almost like you're wearing nothing at all) and has no smell to it. while the sephora moisturizer is very lush and equally moisturizes both the oily and dry parts of my face, it is almost a bit too heavy for my tastes and has a strange smell that i can't quite put my finger on. both are available in approximately 1.7 oz containers, but DDF is in a pump bottle and sephora's moisturizer is in a jar. while the instant moisturizer is the least expensive option at $20 vs the $38 for DDF, i think i will spring for the moisturizing dew. with spring here and summer a yawn away, i will need a lighter option for the days when my face feels like it is melting off. plus, there's always eBay! *wink*

this month's beauty insider picks were average at best, but i was able to trade in 100 points for a small bottle of philosophy purity. at one time i was a philosophy junkie and would have been dying to get my hands on this, but now i simply plan on using it on the days where i am performing a chemical peel. speaking of which, today is the day for another lactic acid peel. i have become lightweight addicted to the smooth feeling of my skin after a 40% LA peel, and it makes me super excited for my TCA peel in a few weeks. my great spring skin is revealing itself, and i cannot wait.

ManeandChic's First Day of Spring Cleaning Challenge

maneandchic: First Day of Spring 2011! Spring Cleaning Challenge...:

one of my fave blogs since i first went natural in 2008 has been maneandchic, southerntease from LHCF's blog. it used to only be about hair, but she has a sick sense of style that she has since incorporated into the blog as well as some decorating tips and lifestyle mantras. i was delighted to wake up to a blog feed email where her spring cleaning challenge was detailed, and i absolutely think it's a great idea! i'm a messy person by nature (LOL) but that doesn't mean i haven't been trying to fix that, especially since moving in with my SO and having to consolidate everything into one 700-sq-ft one bedroom apartment. my mom's house still serves as storage for all the not-so-important articles of clothing, dorm room leftovers and furniture that doesn't match or won't fit, but it is a real eye opener to have to cram all those clothes, shoes, books, makeup and hair items, and things of that nature into a few small bags to bring back and forth! anyway, my personality is exactly why i fell in love with this idea -- i could really use the extra space, but the fact that it also encompasses "messy" ideas and people is another plus. don't we all need to get rid of a little baggage?

some of the basic rules:
*keep a list of what you purge, aiming for a minimum of 50 items
*you have 91 days (from yesterday until the start of summer) to accomplish the challenge
*write thoughts on a piece of paper and destroy it; replace bad thoughts with good ones via a journal or decorated notecard
*groups of things ONLY count as one item -- no getting rid of 25 pieces of baggy or too-tight clothing and saying you're half done!
*keep track of all the positivity that comes out of completing the challenge. i surmise the SO will be so happy to see my clothing stack reduced, not to mention my mood boost, at the very minimum.

about a month ago, my SO's mom sent us prayer journals decorated with cloth from japan that she purchased while staying there a few years back. she is of the ba'hai faith, and inside is a small prayer card that i glance at when i am having a tough time. i told him i wanted to save the journal for something special, and i think this is it. i cannot wait to see the positive manifestations that arise from this challenge. i will also try to share some of them with you guys as i go. anyone else up for the challenge?

Friday, March 4, 2011

end-of-winter opposite-of-blues

i must admit that more than my hair has been feeling the brunt of my lethargy lately, and *gasp* before last week i hadn't applied makeup, put in my contacts or painted my nails in about a month or two. thankfully, an article i read in feb 2011's shape magazine was all i needed to snap me out of it. this feature called "winter brights", which featured makeup so electric and happiness-inducing that i immediately wanted to bask in the glory that is sephora, had me looking up dupes for all the fab ideas listed: coral blush, hot pink lipstick, neon green liner, and bright sunny yellow nail polish. since my pockets won't allow that fantasy trip to sephora just yet, i chose to instead accompany the SO to walgreens and peruse the racks there. luckily for me, they happened to have one of the hot pink lipsticks from the article, milani color perfect in "rose hip." i promptly snatched it up, in addition to two cute maybelline color sensational lipsticks i had been eyeing for a while: red revival and coral crush. this pop of springtime radiance in my fist, i exited the store with a skip in my step. since i purchased these colors, i've worn the rose hip a total of 3 times and the coral crush twice. i'm still waiting for the right time to break out the sultry red lips....a date night, maybe? my general modus operandi is to do a simple black or brown eyeliner and just a hint of blush with the bright lips, a tip that has always served me well. wardrobe-wise, i'm also keeping it neutral: cool grey, black and tan pieces that let my makeup do all the talking.

the best side effect has been the overall impact on the rest of my beauty routine -- putting more time into my makeup has gotten me back into painting my nails as well, and as of now i am sporting china glaze's "for audrey," a nice sky blue shade, with sally hansen xtreme wear "blue me away," a shockingly bright turquoise, on my ring fingers. it makes me sad that i'll have to tone down the nails when i begin work on tuesday, but hey, that's what off days are for! in addition to getting back into my nail polish collection, i've also restarted my chemical peel schedule, since all that lovely makeup looks even more fab on flawless skin. i re-upped on a larger bottle of the 40% lactic acid peel from MUAC, as well as the 30% glycolic acid peel. i have done the LA peel twice, and i had forgotten how baby-butt smooth my face feels after one of these bad boys. i'll do these in prep for a TCA peel that i will do 2-3 weeks from now to tackle some of the hyperpigmentation i accumulated over the winter. although i am normally of the combination-skinned variety, for some reason my entire face was dry as the sahara for a good portion of the winter, and for me dry skin = breakouts galore. between the hydroquinone and the peels, i'm hoping to be in clear skin territory in time for memorial day.

i've started creating a wish list of products that i want to add into the springtime rotation. i hope to start checking things off my list within the next two weeks. although there's no real order to the items, i will admit i have been drooling over the blush ever since i first saw it, so that will probably be first on the list!

*l'oreal voluminous carbon black diorshow iconic bit the dust, so why not try some drugstore mascaras?
*china glaze crackle glaze line....not sure when they come out, but i've wanted OPI's black shatter for a while now. a whole line of crackle polishes? count me in!
*MUFE HD blush in #6, quickie.....a great coral shade also inspired by the "winter brights" feature.
*bright yellow nail polish....haven't chosen an exact shade yet, but just thinking about the color excites me so!
*a lighter shade of MUFE HD foundation for my springtime skin....153 is oh-so-perfect for my summer tan, but right now it's just a bit dark.
*DDF ultra-lite oil free moisturizing dew....heard such good things about this moisturizer, and since i need a good one, why not try it out?
*gucci guilty....building my perfume arsenal one luxurious scent at a time.
*MUAC green tea cleanser....i really loved their bar, and now that it has been converted into a liquid cleanser chock full of antioxidants i am dying to try it!

stroke of genius

the other day, i was going through a particularly lazy phase with my hair. even though i love twistouts for this exact reason (all they require is about 15 minutes of prep before bed and 2-3 minutes to unravel the twists in the AM), i couldn't even muster up the energy to twist my hair and thus decided a high bun would be the best course of action. i moisturized with my current obsession, giovanni smooth as silk conditioner, then turned my head upside down to gather it in a high bun. after tucking in the ends, i went about my day.

that night, when i took down the bun to moisturize my hair and get ready for bed, all these ideas i was having about the fun and elaborate styles i wanted to play with went right out the window in favor of again being lazy and hitting the pillow early. i decided to just add two flat twists on my mostly dry hair to the mix and pin up the ends. (i like this look well enough, more so when i do cornrows instead of flat twists, but like i said....i was lazy!) i added a scarf and went to bed half-disappointed for not doing more but 100% exhausted.

the next morning, i began to unravel the flat twists and think of what i was going to do with my hair, which was too stretched for a normal twistout. out of nowhere, i had the bright idea to simply stop unraveling halfway and leave the top twisted. as much as i love my bangs when my hair is straight, i DID get them cut knowing that they might look awkward when my hair is curly. most of the time this situation is remedied with a funky clip of some sort or a bobby pin, but this can get weird when anything less than an extremely high bun is involved. turns out leaving the top twisted was a stroke of genius -- the fullness of the stretched out hair in the back and the twists on top made for a style as fun as my mood that day. i initially went for a twistout puff, but decided on a bun (hey, the desire to protect my ends is innate now) and slicked back the sides with water and noodle head curling creme. finally, i swiped on a coat of lipstick and, satisfied with my look, i put a smile on my face to enjoy my day.

i have a love/hate relationship with the fact that my best style ideas arise from thin air....and in hindsight, usually can't be duplicated to produce better pictures. ha!

coming soon: march length check

I haven't been nearly as diligent at posting as I had hoped I would be this year, but the good news is I HAVE been diligent at taking great care of my hair. Just like I vowed, I've gotten into a nice twistout/twist-n-curl groove, and on my off days I simply rock a high twistout bun or wet bun. This has kept my hair nicely protected, adequately moisturized, and (hopefully) successfully retaining.

Most twistouts go something like this:
*cowash/leave-in with giovanni smooth as silk conditioner
*add noodle head curling creme or KC curling custard to help the style stay
*five flat twists for a normal twistout or 6-8 large two-strand twists for a twist and curl
*smooth lower half of twist with denman and set on perm rod
*take down twists in the morning and fluff
*optional: add EVOO or coconut oil to ends

I have decided that for my length check, I will straighten my hair at home instead of going to get a Dominican blowout. That is, I *would like* to get my hair silky straight at home and keep this $25 in my pocket, although it is reassuring to know they will always be there if I can't get it. I have a solid plan this time:

*DC overnight for 2-3 nights before straightening
*ACV rinse to smooth cuticles/remove buildup
*Lacio Lacio leave-in and Chi Silk Infusion ONLY prior to blowdrying
*comb attachment, high heat and SMALL sections (this is key) with my cheapie Wal-Mart dryer
*no products before flat ironing
*comb chase method using my Solia, set on 370 degrees
*optional silk wrap if things are looking wonky

I plan to start the DCing tonight, and once I get back to Virginia on Monday I will attempt to straighten my hair. Here's hoping I don't need that crucial of a trim and I've surpassed BSL, at least in part....

Friday, February 4, 2011

you win some, you lose some.

i recently stopped to assess the resolutions i made a mere 4 weeks ago concerning my hair. the good news? while i can't exactly pinpoint the one thing that did it, i will say that my hair has been behaving pretty well, and i have a renewed affinity for twistouts and the twist-n-curl. the bad news? of course i didn't stick to all my resolutions. the better news? i am still learning about my hair, still trying new products, and most importantly, STILL enjoying this natural hair journey.

.:getting the perfect twistout
now this one, i can actually admit, was pretty easy to keep. i jumped in head first with the twistouts, alternating between five flat twists, 4-5 twists on either side of my head with a white or pink perm rod on the lower half, and flat twists with perm rods on the bottom. i also switched up my products, starting out with just a little giovanni smooth as silk conditioner as leave-in, then using some kinky curly knot today i got as a (generous) free sample from whole foods as my leave-in, then adding noodle head for hold, then using some kinky curly curling custard i ALSO got as a (generous) free sample from whole foods on a different set of twists. i did wet twistouts vs dry twistouts, twistout buns vs twistout updos, pineappling vs retwisting at night.....phew! basically, all that experimenting taught me that less product is still more for my hair (read: a holding product is kinda unnecessary for my twistouts), third-day hair is still pretty elusive, and KCKT is some good stuff. i'm currently rocking a three-day-old twistout from the five flat twists that looked GREAT on day one, okay on day two, and never should have really made it to today, but i was lazy. i'm toying with the idea of spraying it down and wet bunning tomorrow, but i won't really know until i hit the shower.

.:weekly DCs
in a word -- FAIL. i really was motivated to do this one since i know how much my hair loves a good DC, but between the cowashing and multi-day hair attempts and the lack of a dome dryer in durham, it just didn't happen. i got in maybe two DCs over the last month, with the last one being this past monday when i did get to my beloved standup dryer at my mom's house in virginia. if only i had two, maybe i'd be set, but i won't bet on it. cowashing is simply more convenient at this point in time. *shrug*

.:straightening after 2-3 days of DCs
ehh, not really applicable since i haven't straightened my hair. i will give myself a slap on the wrist, though, since i was toying with the idea of straightening my hair for the super bowl party (go steelers!) and i am probably only going to have time for one DC between now and then. but who knows -- pigs may fly and i may get it done. don't hold your breath though, guys.

.:perfect blowout at home
although i haven't attempted this on my head, i'm still pretty darn excited about it. there's nothing like having a guinea pig, and i've been practicing that "flat iron wrist flick" on my mom, who has been wearing her hair straight for about 6 weeks now. so far my lacio lacio and that blow dryer nozzle have really been helping straighten out her 4a curls, and the solia is doing a fine job of getting that fresh out the salon look she wants. i'm just hoping my hair looks as great when i get the guts....i mean, the time to do my own hair.

i'm down to one month till my next length check, and four months before i'm three years natural. hopefully i'll have more good news to share, more discoveries, and maybe even more inspiration to share throughout 2011.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

happy 2011!

a (late) happy new hair year to everyone! i entered this year with fabulous hair, courtesy of a dominican blowout and some new bangs. i rang in the new year by celebrating the longest hair i have ever had, and i couldn't be happier! i liken it to running a marathon: although i am not a runner, i imagine this must be the feeling you get once you hit the home stretch. this is MY home stretch: my ultimate goals are in sight, i'm comfortable with where i am now, and i'm just so happy.

with that said, i still have a few hair resolutions for this year. i foresee today as being the last day of my blowout, which i have maintained for about 2.5 weeks with avocado oil, a silk scarf, and the occasional touch of mango butter on my ends and edges. after this 'do is done, i'll be returning to twistouts for the rest of the month. my first resolution is to get that perfect twistout (or twist 'n curl) every time i set my hair. while i discovered quite some time ago that five flat twists are pretty much the key to gorgeous twists and awesome hang for me, i haven't quite figured out what products to add to give my twistouts great shine and long-lasting hold. taking a few tips from LHCF and CurlyNikki, i think i will start adding a holding product to my wet hair, like noodle head or maybe some diluted setting lotion. for shine, i'll try chi silk infusion, olive oil, or paul mitchell super skinny serum. thinking about the combinations i will have to go through to nail this thing is a little daunting, but luckily, playing in my hair is a hobby that NEVER gets old!

i have also noticed that while cowashing was even bigger for me than usual in 2010, i want the winter of 2011 to be about deep conditioning. last winter i did really well by utilizing styles that lasted 3-4 days, and i would LOVE to be the girl whose curls go even longer than that. if i want four-day hair, i know that this means i will have to go back to DCing with heat as often as possible. starting tonight, i will make an attempt to DC at least once a week for the remainder of the winter, if not every time i retwist my hair. hopefully, getting that infused moisture will help me rule my hair instead of it ruling me!

thinking ahead, i still don't know whether i will go through february with straight or curly hair. i am kind of upset with myself for not sticking to my original plan to have straight hair the whole winter, but i realize now that besides the fact that i love my curly hair too much to straighten it for 3-4 months straight, my hair doesn't like it either! one of the telltale signs that my hair is losing moisture and getting tired of being straight is an increased amount of shedding or breakage, and knowing this is what is leading me to wash and DC tonight. to make sure i can keep a blowout as long as possible, my next resolution is to only straighten after 2-3 overnight DCs or 2-3 days of DCing with heat. perhaps doing this could get me a 3 or 4 week blowout next month, but only time will tell if this is something i want to pursue. oh yeah, do you notice a common theme here? MOISTURE is what helped me retain as much length as possible, and it will be what gets me to my goal length!

last week i bought a comb for my round blow dryer, and using it on my mom's hair made me realize that with this tool i may be able to tackle straightening my own hair. while i have nothing against salons, another resolution of mine is to perfect the blowout at home. whether it's through rollersetting my own hair, something i haven't done since i was SL or so, or going at it with a blowdryer and flat iron, being able to get that salon swang at home would not only be more cost-effective, but it means that i could go from straight to curly literally whenever i want. without having to worry about "getting my money's worth," i could straighten my hair, wash it the next day, and straighten it again the next week. in reality, i probably wouldn't straighten any more than i already do, but just knowing that i could would be a great feeling. i've already put it off my whole natural journey, but learning how to get "fresh from the salon" hair is a MUST before i reach my final length goal!

the summer of 2010 was probably the biggest learning experience for me and my hair. from that disastrous trim to the sew-in to my three inches in three months, i had some crazy ups and downs. of course i would love to stay away from any further setbacks, so my resolution for 2011 is to wet bun at least one full month in the summer. i am truly a wet bun convert, and if i lived in a warmer climate, i would probably do it year round. i always knew the benefits of rocking a bun, but it wasn't till i made that commitment to try it out and turned 30 days into a new habit that i truly got it. my ends were in fantastic shape, i retained more of that summer growth spurt than i could have ever imagined, and i had a quick and easy everyday style that required only a minute tops to style and set. what more could a girl want?

i made some great progress last year, but a lot of it was because i learned after "getting burned." i hate dwelling on the past, but if i had only learned to do my own trims before that SHS run-in, i could already be MBL. this year, i'm taking things into my own hands and avoiding any possible setbacks. i'd love to hear some resolutions from my readers. where do you see your hair on december 31, 2011, and what steps are you going to take to get it? 12 months may seem like a long time, but it will be here before you know it!