Final Word on Curlformers

I LOVE Curlformers!!! I know this is a big change from my last post where I was unsure based on the effort it took to put them in. However I must tell you guys now that the work was well worth it in the end. While I wasn’t blown away by the curls the Curlformers produced, I had the most amazing twist outs on my hair in the days following. I wore the curls for two days and then I did twist outs for a week after that. My hair was completely stretched (just like if I used a blow dryer) and it remained that way throughout the entire week. Even after all of my P90X workouts!

They lasted about a week and a half. I could have kept them in longer, but my hair was screaming for a wash. They were much easier to maintain then my normal twist outs which have to be done over every 3 days. I also experienced less single stranded knots which is great for hair retention. Curlformers gets two thumbs up from me and I can’t wait to try them again. They may even make it into my regular style rotation!!!

Products to Grow and Thicken Hair

So a friend asked me to recommend products that can both grow hair and make it thicker. This seems to be a very common question for people with both natural and chemically treated hair. My answer to this question is that there is no one product that can miraculously grow or thicken hair. It’s more of a regimen and ensuring that you properly care for your hair.

Let’s begin with hair growth. Hair growth is all about taking care of the ends of the hair so that they don’t split and break off. This can be done by:

  • Staying away from heat
  • Wearing protective styles that hide the ends
  • Ensuring that the hair is properly moisturized at all times
  • Staying away from harsh shampoos that can be drying to the hair (I like Castile Soap mixed with water as an alternative)

Hair grows about 1/4-1/2 inch per month. Anyone who has had their hair chemically treated can attest to this. It’s the reason why we need a touch up every 6-8 weeks. We may not see this growth as expected because the ends break off as fast as we can grow it. This is usually due to lack of moisture.

I suffer from extremely dry hair. I also like natural, chemical free products. I find that bi-weekly mayonnaise and egg treatments help me retain moisture. I use avocado oil after every wash in order to seal in the moisture. I also like oils like jojoba (for moisture), rosemary (for growth), and lavender (for the scent). I use grapeseed oil whenever I do use heat as a protector (best heat protectant I’ve ever used!)

As for thickness, the same thing that works for moisture works for making the hair nice and thick! Mayonnaise and egg treatments contain lots of protein. You may want to try the treatments weekly until you feel your hair is stronger. However, be careful and pay close attention to your hair. There is a such thing as too much protein and you want to maintain the proper balance for your hair.

Another important thing to note is that our diet and fitness regimen impacts our hair as well. Getting in 8 glasses of water a day will help with keeping the hair moisturized. A healthy, well-balanced diet and regular exercise also contribute greatly to your overall health, including hair health. Lack of protein in a diet can lead to limp, dull, thinning hair.

2012 Hair Resolutions

So 2012 is here and as I am thinking of resolutions, I figured I should come up with some hair resolutions. So here goes:

  1. I noticed recently that the front of my hair grows faster than the back. I think this is due to moisture. The front of my hair is rarely dry. I am going to spend 2012 focused on the back of my hair and keeping it properly moisturized.
  2. I will check my hair to see if a trim is required every 4 months. If my ends are rough and a trim is necessary, it will happen on medium sized twists.
  3. I will cut down on heat to my hair. Direct heat will only be applied every 2 months (this includes flat ironing and blow drying). I will need to find alternative ways of stretching my hair.
  4. I will drink more water. I am trying for 8 glass per day. This should help to keep my hair healthy and hopefully helo with growth.
  5. Regularly do length checks on my hair to determine growth progress. I didn’t do this regularly last year so I can’t truly tell how much my hair grew.
  6. Post to this blog regularly. Post at least once per week to document my hair journey including sharing my thoughts and feelings on my hair throughout the year.

CurlFormers Review

I decided to do a set of curlformers. What a Task!!!! It took me 3.5 hours from wash to set. I used over 50 curlformers and I still came up short. I improvised by making a few of the curls have more hair. Your supposed to keep it small so you can get closer to the root. Sleeping was another issue. I decided to let them air dry because I despise sitting under the dryer. This meant I had to sleep in them. Never again!!! Next time I’ll do them in the morning and let them sit all day or I will just sit under the stupid dryer.

Anyway, I am not quite sure there will be a next time. I did the set because others have said that it stretched their hair out and caused less knots. My results were OK, but they look pretty similar to my normal twist out done on medium size twists and stretched with bands (actually I think I like the twist out better). This takes me all of 1 hour from wash to set and is much easier to sleep on.

I will give it a few days though. The one thing I do like that is different from the twists out is that my hair is pretty straight. If this falls and gives me a way to do mini twists or straighten with my flat iron without having to blow-dry my hair, then I will call it a success. Se below for the pics!

How I Blow-dry Hair

I normally blow-dry in stages. I do this for my own hair as well as Kaycie’s. I wash the hair, using only non-silicone shampoo. I like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap mixed with water. I condition with Olive Oil or Le Kair Natural Olive Oil Cholesterol Creme. After I am done, I will detangle the hair in four sections using my Shea Butter mix, a wide tooth comb, and a large Bristle Paddle Brush. I braid the hair in the sections to let it air dry a little.

After the hair is at least 80% dry, I will start the blow drying process. I like to part small sections beginning in the back. I part the hair, add Grape Seed Oil for protection from the heat, and I start to dry the hair using the concentrator piece and the big paddle brush. It’s important to have a good hair dryer and some patience. I brush with the dryer on medium, pointing at the hair section I am holding taut with the brush, until the hair is relatively straight and 100% dry. I brush, holding the hair as shown in the picture, and run the hair drier up and down the same section a few times before moving to the next section. The tension provided by using the brush enables the hair to stretch out easily. I continue this way until I am done with the entire head.

Some naturals call this the tension method. You can achieve the same result using only your hands to pull the hair taut. I like the paddle brush, but using the brush means you really need to ensure that you detangle the hair properly so that the brush doesn’t rip it out as you are brushing.

Some Tips:

  • Let hair dry a little before blow drying. Never blow dry soaking wet hair. The more you let it hair dry, the less heat you will need to use, and the less damage you cause.
  • Ensure the hair is completely detangled before blow drying. You can use a wide tooth comb or the Tangle Teezer. I like to do the majority of my detangling in the shower with soaking wet hair and a cheap conditioner like Moisture Milks Strawberries & Cream Conditioner by Alberto VO5
  • Make sure the dryer is on medium heat (not high) and hold the hair dryer a few inches away from the hair to limit damage
  • Use a heat protectant. I like a natural heat proctetant like Grape Seed Oil. It resists heat up to 425 degrees (F).
  • Invest in a good hair dryer.
  • Don’t rush! Take your time no matter how thick or dense your hair may be. Mistakes due to pulling the hair or using too much heat are not easily repairable and may entail cutting the hair. A bad place to be just because you weren’t careful or patient.
  • Don’t blow dry too often. Heat is harmful to your hair no matter how careful you are. Try to limit as much as possible. There are other ways to stretch the hair that I will discuss in a later post.

What Price Do We Pay For Beauty??

Great article that I wanted to share!

Do Women Choose Beauty Over Health? The Surgeon General (And Advertisers) Say So

Are we truly afraid to mess up our new do or is hair just another excuse among many not to exercise?

I know I am guilty of spending much more on hair/beauty products then my health. For example, I am reluctant to spend the money out of my Health Spending account to see the allergist for the allergies I have been struggling with, but I will spend the same amount, with no regrets, on hair products in a month. It’s not all at one time, so it’s a little easier to swallow, but the money for the allergist is money set aside for health so what gives?

After reading this article, I am going to pay more attention to my priorities. At least until the next “must have” hair product hits the shelves…lol

The Wonders of Shea Butter

My Concoction

A friend of mine introduced me to the wonders of Raw Shea Butter. I have found that this is my best hair product to date. Since using, my hair is never dry and it looks fantastic. She gave me a slab of Shea Butter that she had stored in a box in her house. I took the slab and placed it in a blender with some Vitamin E Oil, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, and a little of my Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Hold Smoothie . It blended into a nice, smooth hair product that I scooped out and put in an empty container.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this product and it is much cheaper than many of the ready made hair products I buy. I take a small amount and add it to my hair, focusing on my ends, each night. I plan on buying a 5 lb box of this stuff before I run out of my current stash.

It works great on my daughter’s hair as well. I have been placing her hair all summer in two low braids (very easy style). This product makes it much easier to brush and detangle the hair and get it to a point where I can grab and braid in two pieces. She has a ton of hair that is not easy to get into two of anything!

Hair and Fitness

There are many women who feel that they don’t want to sacrifice their hair for fitness. These women understand that exercise is important, but feel that they don’t want to mess up that hairdo that took all Saturday in a hair salon to get perfect. I used to be that woman. I could never sustain a consistent exercise regimen because hair was always a factor.

Natural hair resolves this dilemma. Natural hair and fitness are a match made in heaven. I can exercise and have great looking hair immediately following my exercise session. Moisture (sweat) is no longer a concern and I can exercise most days with no issues.

Most people probably don’t realize that exercise can actually promote hair growth. Various yoga poses such as downward dog and head stands allow blood to flow to the scalp which provides an avenue for your scalp to gain the nutrients and oxygen that stimulate hair growth. Also, people who exercise tend to pay more attention to their diet. A proper diet can create stronger, healthier hair that is less likely to experience breakage.

On my site, I will begin to focus on fitness and diet as well as hair tips. I think its important to focus on all aspects of beauty. Who wants great looking hair but an unhealthy looking body??

Braided Bun

So I am always looking for new styles for Kaycie that will last a week or longer and take a short amount of time to do. I hate doing hair daily because I love my sleep in the morning 🙂 I am not great with cornrows because I am horrible at parting and I am slow beyond belief. Despite these shortcomings, I decided to try the braided bun. It came out ok and it took me about 1.5 hours to complete. Hopefully it lasts the week.

Things Learned:

  1. Part beginning at the top and proceed around clockwise.
  2. Determine the middle if the head ahead of time. All braids should be done towards the middle. It may be helpful to part ear to ear to begin with.
  3. Stick with whatever spot you chose as the middle. Don’t try to braid hair in the middle of the bun if you happen to choose the wrong spot. It doesn’t look better than just braiding to the wrong spot.

3 Inches Hair Growth – 6 months

Well I haven’t posted in a while. I didn’t post an update to my self challenge. I didn’t quite keep up with every rule, but I did grow 3 inches of hair in 6 months time. That is 1/2 inch a month! I think that is darn good.

I couldn’t maintain protective styles everyday, however, I have learned to keep them in for 2 weeks and then give myself a break for 2 weeks. This works since I love love love my hair and can’t keep it up for more than 2 weeks at a time 🙂 I have been drinking more water (not 8 glasses but more than before) and I keep my hair moisturized by wetting it daily and using my new shea butter concoction (more on that later). I have not trimmed my hair, but I am careful with my ends…especially when detangling. I am noticing less single knot strands now which I think helped with my growth. I haven’t been doing many deep treatments, but I do perform weekly shampoos and I haven’t used much heat (aside from the occasional blow dry).

Right now, I am sporting twists. Not the really tiny ones because I hate detangling those and although I love the look, I think I loose a lot of hair that way. I have medium size ones, that I think gives the best twist out ever. Below is a pic of my twist along with two of my favorite twist outs from previous twists done the same size.

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