loving my natural hair
Hair Health

Loving My Natural Tresses

loving my natural hair
Cheeeezzzzz! It’s a Kodak moment!

It’s been four (4) whole years since I last applied relaxers to my hair. My journey has been one of many ups and downs but there is nothing that could make me go back to the creamy crack right now. I must admit that I have been tempted to along the way but when I really think about it, I always end up preferring to keep my natural hair. And here is why I love my natural hair so much.

  1. I love the way my natural hair feels – Yep, I  absolutely love the way my natural hair feels in my hands. I love the thickness and the “life” that I feel whenever I touch my tresses. I get that feeling of good health and vitality and strength especially when I wash my hair. It just feels good to feel the thickness as I run my hands through while cleaning each section. I can’t really find the right words to explain the feeling but those of you who wash your own natural hair may be able to relate to what I’m saying. You have to experience this feeling for yourself to know exactly what I am talking about.
  2. I love the way my natural hair looks – I hate seeing thin, limpless hair. I love to see hair with body and lots of life and bounce. That’s how my hair looks these days and I am so happy for this. I have naturally thick hair but when I used to relax it, there were times that I couldn’t even tell that my hair was thick. It had become thin and damaged and the ends were stringy and limp. I hated seeing my hair that way. Since I’ve embraced my natural hair once again, I have my thickness back. It’s funny how people used to make fun of thick hair when I was a child. It was the worst thing to have thick hair because it meant broken combs, painful detangling sessions, fear of wash days and teasing from schoolmates. Nowadays, having thick natural hair is something to be desired. Just like how thick lips used to be scorned and now everybody wants thicker lips. Thank God I have these naturally! And that I have learned to appreciate myself the way God made me.
  3. I love the natural hair compliments that I receive – Yesterday I received what I consider the best compliment that a natural sister can get. A sister who was wearing a blonde wig smiled and told me that she loved my hair. I was flattered. It felt truly good to hear those words coming from someone who wasn’t natural herself. And I now receive compliments about my hair on a regular basis. I really appreciate these compliments because God knows that I have put lots of effort into getting my hair in the shape that it is now in. For a very long time in my natural hair journey I struggled with dryness and breakage. I couldn’t figure out why my hair was breaking so badly and I spent several months trying to get my hair back. Because I had been creaming my hair for so long, I really didn’t know how to take care of my natural hair. Now I know so much more. Experience is the greatest teacher.
  4. I love the health of my natural hair – It is true. A woman’s hair is her glory. If her hair doesn’t look good, she doesn’t feel good. And for your hair to look good, it must be healthy. Once upon a time, I would trade health for length but not anymore. The most important thing for me is to have a healthy head of hair on my head regardless of the length. If it’s short, it can be healthy. If it’s long, it can be healthy. Although I have had to sacrifice length for health, I am still happy. Now that I know what it takes to keep my hair looking healthy, maybe I can now focus a little more on length. Then again, if it’s healthy, it’s likely to get longer without me even trying. So maybe I won’t worry about length too much.

Wearing my hair in its natural state makes me feel good. It makes me look good and I feel comfortable with what God blessed me with. I no longer have the urge to alter the chemical makeup of my hair. I like it just the way it is. Naturally :)!

 

Hair Health

Does My Natural Hair Need all These Fancy Products?

natural hair no productsOkay so as you guys know, I have been having some breakage and dryness issues lately. I have switched products and switched up my regimen to find out what works and what doesn’t work for MY natural hair. I understand that everybody’s hair is different and that my hair may respond differently from another natural’s hair. What I am discovering is that my hair does not like creams or should I say styling products?

I have experimented with at least 3 different brands and none of them have the desired effect on my hair. In fact I found Cantu Shea Butter Natural Hair Twist and Lock Gel to be very drying on my hair. And its such a shame because I do love the curl definition that it gives me plus it has a heavenly smell. If it weren’t for the fact that is dries out my hair so much, this would definitely be a staple product for me. But, I would rather not have my hair break off due to dryness so this one will not remain a part of my regimen. I want my hair to grow and flourish, not to dry out and break off!

natural hair wash day no productsAnother product brand that I tried was the ORS Lock and Twist Gel. My hair absolutely hates this product! It gives very little hold to my twists, feels like it isn’t absorbed into my hair shaft, leaves my hair feeling very dry and crunchy and does not really have an appealing smell to it. I used it for 3 weeks straight and I’ll just say that I will have to keep looking because this product is not it! Not by a long shot. I wish I hadn’t wasted my money buying this.

On the flip side, I have tried the Cantu Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque for Natural Hair and I love it as a treatment. I tried it as a leave in but it had a drying effect on my hair. So whenever I use it now, I wash it out and my hair responds beautifully to it. It leaves my hair shiny, manageable and it feels healthy and strong. The smell is delightful as well. So this one is a keeper for me, but only as an occasional treatment masque.

natural hair wash day without productsSince I found out that my hair does not respond well to styling creams, I have started using only water, my Creme of Nature Thermal Sheen Booster as a leave in conditioner and an oil mixture as a part of my regimen. I have cut out the creams as a styling aide. My hair responds well to just water, leave in conditioner in liquid form and oil. I have tried this method for the past 2 weeks and it has made a tremendous difference! My hair feels so much softer and moisturized and it looks shiny and healthy. So I guess I will stick to this method. It works for me so I’m going to work it!

Oh, before I forget to mention it, I gave myself a little trim as well and it is amazing what a little trim can do! My hair just seems more alive since I have done this trim. I know that regular trims are recommended to prevent hair from splitting but I honestly have not followed that advice. Now that I have seen that it can work wonders to how my hair looks and feels, I will now have regular trims.

So does my natural hair need all these fancy products? Based on my own experience I would have to say no. My natural hair functions best with minimal products, trimming and protection at night through the use of a satin bonnet or head tie.

My suggestion to all natural hair ladies is to find what works for you and work it. Don’t be a product junkie if your hair does not love a lot of products. Listen to your hair, respond to it, and your natural beauty will shine through. Until next time, stay natural and stay beautiful!

Hair Health

Hair Update

Double strand twists
All twisted up for bed with ORS Lock and Twist Gel

Today I want to talk about hair issues. If you recall, I am experiencing dryness and breakage. I have implemented a simple LOC (liquid, oil, cream) regimen using Cantu Shea Butter products for the cream. This week when I took down my hair for a wash, I noticed that there was less breakage. My hair wasn’t coming out in chunks like it was previously and it was not as dry. However, the ends are still breaking too much.

I am beginning to wonder if the Cantu Shea Products are contributing to my hair dryness. Two weeks ago I used the last of my Cantu Shea Butter Twist and Loc gel and I noticed that the little that was left in the jar just before it finished was a bit cracked, almost like dried up shoe polish. This suggests to me that it was somewhat dry and that is why it was cracking up. Found that a bit odd but didn’t pay it much attention. So last weekend when I washed, I ended up using Cantu Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque as a leave in conditioner since I didn’t have any lock and twist gel left. So all along Cantu Shea butter Lock and Twist Gel has been like a staple in my haircare….. for the past 16 months or so. I really am beginning to wonder if this brand is causing my dryness. I would hate to think so though.

Time For a Change

This week I decided that I would not use any Cantu Shea Butter products. I want to see if there’s any difference. Instead I opted to use Organic Root Stimulator Lock and Twist Gel. I have heard some good reviews about that brand and so I decided to try it. Hopefully I see a substantial change in the moisture level of my hair. I have been diligently taking my flaxseed oil and I have been drinking lots of water, sleeping with my silk bonnet and not pulling my hair too tightly. Basically, I see improvement in the roots and the middle of the strands but the ends are rebelling. I can’t recall having any such problem when I was younger. I did have some issues with trashiness but the wholesale breakage…I am not used to that at all.

Well, we’ll see how the ORS Lock and Twist Gel works. It promises to make my hair soft and well moisturized so I hope I see those results. This whole episode though has made me realize that hair care is really a very individualized thing. What may work for one person may not necessarily work for another person. I love to watch product reviews on YouTube and tend to go with recommended products. While those products may very well work excellently for the reviewer, it doesn’t mean that it will have the same effect on my hair. So I will be experimenting with the ORS for now to see how my hair likes it.

If someone had told me that I would have to treat my natural hair like a newborn baby I would have laughed. Turns out that this natural hair thing is a delicate matter.

Is there anybody out there who has experienced excessive dryness and or breakage from the Cantu Shea Butter line? Please let me know by commenting below. Latah :)!

Hair Health

Hair Repair Update

I have started earnestly to try to get my hair back in shape. I was seriously contemplating just cutting it down to about 3 inches and just starting over from there. But when I think about how long I’ve waited to attain this length, I just could not bring myself to do that.

So instead, I have decided to pull out all the stops to get my damaged hair repaired. If you recall, I just started to use this shampoo last week. I had also deep conditioned and treated it with ORS Banana & Bamboo Hair Repair Treatment. This was followed up by rinsing and using Kisii Leave In Conditioner, E-Blast Vitamin E and Flaxseed Nourishing Scalp Remedy and finally twisting with Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizing Lock and Twist Gel. Read the full details of what I did last week here.

On Saturday when I took down the twists to wash, I was pleasantly surprised. I used the same Dark & Lovely Au Naturale Anti-Breakage Tension Release Shampoo. There was much, much less hair breaking off. The sink was almost hair free! I am so happy about that because I was really beginning to freak out about the breakage. However, my hair still felt somewhat dry. It still has a far, far way to go where moisture is concerned. Patience will have to be exercised here….not something that I can say that I am good at. I want results and I want them right now. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.

So after I washed and conditioned, I followed up with a Jamaican Black Castor Oil Hot Oil Treatment. I applied it to my edges and especially to the crown of my head where I am experiencing the most breakage. It is still surprising to me the amount of damage and breakage that I have experienced in that section of my head. The back is also breaking but not as badly. The back of my hair near the nape has always been the thickest and the strongest part. So when I see that section breaking, I know that somethings really not right.

Jamaican Black Castor Oil
Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Black Castor Oil is supposed to be great for hair growth so hopefully I will see the results soon. The only thing I hate about it is that it smells so unpleasant. Yuck! Anyway, if it will get the job done, I will sacrifice and bear the smell.

I have also started on my flaxseed oil supplements and I expected to get triple benefits from this. So I am looking for progress with not only my hair but with my skin and nails as well. Coupled with exercise and proper eating, I should be looking fabulous really soon!

Two strand twists
Two strand twists
Hair Health

Hair Troubles – Dryness and Breakage

My hair is on my agenda as one of the areas I want to address in my “Fit n Fabulous” challenge. When I was younger, I had a thick, very healthy head of hair that attracted the envy of several of my friends. At that time I really didn’t appreciate the thickness of it and oftentimes wished it were thinner so I could pull it up into a ponytail as easily as other girls could. I would dread wash day because it would mean that I would be sitting for hours after my hair was washed while my mother tried to detangle and comb my hair. I can still feel the pain in my head from her not-so-gentle attempts to detangle all the knots. Added to that fact, I absolutely hated shrinkage. I wanted my hair to look as long as it possibly could, not to shrink up like I didn’t have any hair on my head at all. Anyway, all that time I never really appreciated my hair. I couldn’t wait to get old enough so I could have it creamed or processed. When I finally got to that point, I really enjoyed my processed hair. It was thick and had lots of body. The only trouble was that after awhile it would break and I would have to cut it short. I didn’t mind that too much because I thought those short styles were cute on me. Fast forward a few years to today and it has now been 3 years since I last had my hair processed. But lately, I have been having some really, really bad breakage. I first noticed it a few months after I had my last baby. I had gotten my hair washed and twisted at the hairdresser and was about to take out the twists to get it washed again. I was horrified when I realized that my hair was literally breaking off in my hands in large clumps. It was the worse feeling. I chalked it up to hormones and told myself that it would stop breaking after awhile. Alas, that was not meant to be. It has continued to break and I have not been able to figure out why until recently. I have visited the doctor to check if a thyroid problem could be causing the breakage and he has confirmed that my thyroid is fine. Here is what I am confident has contributed to my hair breakage and damage over the last couple of months:

1. Heat Damage – I don’t use heat on my hair at home but whenever I go to the hairdresser to have my hair washed and styled, she always blow dries my hair before she styles it. I didn’t have a problem with that because it stretched my hair and gave me maximum length and hang. So I never suspected that this was a contributor to any breakage especially since I only visit the hairdresser about twice monthly. However, I have had to ask her on several occasions to turn the heat down and to not bring the drier so close to my scalp. Sometimes I would get burnt and it feels similar to a relaxer burn. Anyway, I realized that my hair would break the most when my stylist was styling it or when I would take the style out. The clumps would just start to come out. Very disturbing. I have realized that my hair does NOT like heat and reacts very negatively to any type of heat.

2. Brown Gel and Beeswax – My hairdresser always uses a mixture of brown gel and beeswax on my hair whenever I get twists to hold them securely so that they last longer. Again, I didn’t have a problem with that because the mixture made my hair shiny and soft for a few hours. But when I got home and for the next few days after that my hair would feel dry and brittle and would look dull and unhealthy. That’s not how my hair normally behaves. My hair is normally very shiny and healthy looking. I also noticed that my scalp would itch a lot until I would have it washed. I realize now, in hindsight that the brown gel and beeswax were drying out my hair and making it extremely brittle. Apart from that it was causing a lot of build up on my scalp which I have since found out, may contribute to breakage.

3. No established hair care routine – This is the biggest mistake I believe I have made. I did not have an established hair care routine except for my weekly or bi-weekly wash when I would wash with regular shampoo, condition, and just add a lock gel afterwards. Throughout the entire week, all I would do is tie it at night with a satin scarf and if it looked dull in the mornings, I would spray a little olive and clove oil on it. That was it. I didn’t moisturize on a regular basis, I never paid attention to adding enough oil to seal in the moisture, I never got any trims, and I didn’t do any regular treatments. I basically expected my hair to do well because I was keeping it clean and wearing my satin scarf to prevent breakage at night. What I never realized is that between the heat, the gel and beeswax, my hair needed lots more moisture than I was giving it and my hairdresser should have been applying a heat protector to my hair before blow drying it and she should have always used a low setting on the blow dryer. In addition, I should have been deep conditioning occasionally to strengthen my hair. I neglected to do all that.

When all is said and done, I was ignorant and taking my hair for granted. Not any more. A woman’s hair is her glory and I intend to do everything I can to get my hair looking healthy again. Here is what I have decided to do:

1. Flaxseed Oil – I will be taking a flaxseed oil supplement to help with strengthening my hair. Flaxseed is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids which are great for preventing hair loss and for increasing the hair’s elasticity. It can also help to reduce dandruff and other hair and skin conditions.

2. New Staple Products – I will be using a paraben free shampoo, applying Creme of Nature Thermal Sheen Booster Kissi leave in conditioner daily, Moisturizing and sealing with E-Blast, Adding moisture and hold with Cantu Shea Butter Twist & Lock Gel, and occasionally deep conditioning. I recently used Organic Root Stimulator Banana & Bamboo Hair Repair Treatment and it worked wonders. I noticed a marked reduction in the amount of hair that was breaking and my hair felt less dry.

Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Anti-breakage Tension Release Hair Wash and Creme of Nature Thermal Sheen Booster Leave In Conditioner (Kisii)
Au Naturale Shampoo and E-Blast Vitamin E & Flaxseed Nourishing Scalp Remedy
Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizing Twist & Lock Gel
Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizing Twist & Lock Gel

3. Self-maintenance – Knowledge is power. I will be maintaining my hair myself since I am quite upset that my hairdresser never offered any valuable solutions to my hair breakage except to say that my hair was breaking badly. Didn’t she realize that she was a major contributor to the problem? I find that so many black women are ignorant about how to take care of natural hair. We are so used to processing that we really don’t know how to handle our natural hair. With that said, I guess I am as much to blame as my hairdresser. Nevertheless, I will be taking things into my own hands from here on.

I washed my hair today with the Dark & Lovely Au Naturale Shampoo, treated it with the Organic Root Stimulator Banana & Bamboo Hair Repair Therapy, moisturized with the Creme of Nature Leave in Conditioner, applied the E-Blast Vitamin E and Flaxseed Nourishing Scalp Remedy and Styled with the Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizing Twist and Lock Gel. So, I think I am off to a great start. Here is a shot of my hair afterwards:

Two Strand Twists
Two Strand Twists

This isn’t the best picture but you get the point.  So I am off until we meet again. Latah!

Exercise and Weight Loss, Hair Health, Wellness

My 8 Weeks Health & Fitness Challenge

Today is day one (1) of my 8 weeks Health and Fitness challenge. I invite you to join me on this journey to becoming fit and fabulous. I have reached that point in life where it’s not easy to get away with eating anything I want to. Although I am not overweight nor would I consider myself fat, I am not fit. And I want to be. I want to be healthy. I want to look great and I want to feel great. While I would love to have my cake and eat it too, I realize that I can’t have it both ways. So, since I want a flat stomach and a firm butt, and I want healthy looking hair and skin, there are some things that I’ll simply have to give up like cheese, which makes me bloated and gives me headaches. And ice-cream which I have a love hate relationship with….and I have to cut down on the white flour products.

It’s not like I haven’t tried to become fit and to stay fit before but I have decided that now, at this point in my life, I can’t afford to take my health for granted. So , during this 8 week challenge I will be completing an exercise workout at least 5 days per week, I will incorporate supplements into my daily regimen, I will (try to) eat more vegetables, cut out all dairy products.  I will also be incorporating ‘wearable nutrition’ and will be on a mission to get my hair back into tip top shape.  I have been experiencing a lot of hair breakage lately and I am NOT happy about it. So I am on this journey but I need some friends to join me to keep me motivated and to keep me accountable. It would be nice if some of you wanted to join me in taking the challenge also so we can all get fitter and more fabulous together!

My Goals

During the next 8 weeks, here is what I hope to accomplish.

1. My number 1 goal is to lose 6 inches from my waist which is currently a whopping 32 inches! My goodness, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I actually took the measurements. Ideally, I want my waist to be no more than 26 inches. I mean 32 inches is just too much for me being only 5 feet tall.

2. Next, I want to firm up my arms and my buttocks. They have been feeling a little flabby lately and I hate flab. So I will be incorporating weight bearing exercises into my routine to build some muscles. You know that as we get older, we tend to lose muscle mass. So, I don’t intend to lose anymore than I already have because I want to keep looking great for my husband, especially because he is a Personal Trainer. His wife has got to keep up appearances, right? So at the end of it, my arms should look toned and my butt should be tight and lifted.

3.  I need my hair to stop breaking and to get back its body and lustre. To do this I will be taking flaxseed oil, using the LOC (Liquid, Oil, Cream) method to keep my hair moisturized and I will be taking a female multivitamin – Sundown Vitamins to Go.

My Current Measurements

Shoulders – 40 1/2 inches

Bust – 35 inches

Waist – 32 inches

Hips – 37 1/2 inches

Thighs – 21 1/2 inches

Calves – 12 1/2 inches

Biceps – 10 inches

Neck – 12 6/8 inches

I currently weigh 133 lbs. My major aim right now is not so much to lose weight but rather to lose inches. So I started my exercise routine today. Here is a shot of me doing buttocks lifts

Buttock exercises
Gotta lift those buttocks

I will be posting daily updates on my Facebook page. Feel free to follow me on this journey and be inspired to achieve your own fit and fabulous goals. Watch me as I thrive. Better yet, join me…..let us thrive together! Click the follow button in the bottom right hand corner to receive every post straight to your inbox.