Stretched Braid-Out

I get a lot of questions about my braid-out technique when I’m out and about around town.  I’ve been referring people to our website, but I realize that I never really updated my braid-out technique here on the site.  Well, here’s an updated braid-out how to…

Step 1:  I moisten (unless it’s freshly shampooed), detangle and braid  my hair (using coconut oil) into between 10 – 15 braids (depending on if I want a tighter or loser texture).  I went for a tighter texture in this case.

Step 2:  After sleeping in a satin cap all night, I take down each braid.  This is what my hair looks like when I first take the braids out.  Please note, if I want the texture to set in even more, I keep my hair braided for a whole day (sometimes 2 or 3); covering it with a hat if I need to leave the house.

Step 3:  To show off a little more length, I usually “stretch” my hair right after removing the braids.  To stretch my hair I take large sections (usually three) and twist each section into large Bantu Knots (check Google for plenty of tutorials on how to do Bantu Knots).  I secure each knot with a Goody Band and leave the knots in over night.

Step 4:  The next morning I remove the knots and end up with a fluffy stretched braid out. Notice the difference in length from these pics and the braid-out pic above. Believe it or not, these are from the same braids.   Notice how shiny my hair is with only coconut oil as a styling product.  To maintain this style, I roll my hair back up into the knots each night.  Each day when I take the knots out, my hair is stretched out more and more.  This is a fairly new technique for me, but I am sure that a stretched braid out can be achieved on hair from around 6 inches long…but the hair would probably have to be knotted into smaller sections (this is just a guess).   I hope this helps to answer some questions!  By the way…my technique can be used with twist-outs as well!

Sometimes You Just Need to Leave it Alone

Hello, LV here! It’s been a while since my last post and I’m sure you may be asking what the heck I mean by the title of this post.   I get a lot of people asking me about hair growth and what I did to get my hair to grow.  This question usually results in me with a blank face without a lot of advice.  Why?  Because, with all of the natural hair care advice and websites available out there, I didn’t think people would believe me if I told them my routine.  Second, I never really knew how to explain my hair growth.   However, I think I’ve finally come up with an answer…sometimes the key to hair growth may be to just leave it alone.  Leave it alone?  Let me break down my hair routine…

  1. I wash my hair…wait for it…once a month.  Yes, you heard me…I wash my hair once a month.  Why?  Well I didn’t intend to vary my wash routine.  I’m a stay-at-home, home school mom of two children.  We participate in a lot of activities within our city.  Between soccer practice/ games, gymnastics, guitar practices/recitals, speech classes, drama classes, home school classes at various museums in town and field trips…my hair often takes a backseat.  Who has time to worry about hair?  Heck, I’m lucky to fit in a wash once a month, because even that’s pushing it.
  2. After washing my hair, I braid it using just Coconut Oil.  I have other hair products, but Coconut Oil has become my staple allowing me to leave most of my other products behind.  I usually braid my hair into about 15 braids.  I use sponge rollers (with satin) to curl up the ends.
  3. I allow these braids to stay in my hair for maybe a day or two, just to make sure the braided texture really sets in.  I then remove the braids for a braid-out.  My braid-outs last for about two weeks and I wear them for at least that long.
  4. When my braid-out starts looking bad and/or feeling dry, I re-moisten my hair and re braid it.  Removing these braids results in another two week braid-out.
  5. After the next two weeks of braid-outs, it’s time for a wash.  I use Apple Cidar Vinegar (mixed with water in a spray bottle) to give my scalp a pre-wash treatment.  I then wash my hair using a sulfate free shampoo.  I’m currently using Creme of Nature Professional Shampoo and Conditioner (orange bottle) , but I am not attached to any particular brand of shampoo.  While I am washing my hair, I detangle it using a cheap conditioner (usually Suave).  After my hair is shampooed and detangled…I braid it and the routine starts all over for me.

So, what can I conclude about my routine?  Well, I did a 2nd BC in 2009…three years later, my hair has grown longer than it has ever been in my life.  I contribute it to the lack of manipulation.  Washing my hair once a month means that I’m forced to detangle it less.  With the braid-outs, I’m also not combing my hair much.  I run a comb through my hair two times a month.  Ha!  Can you believe it?

Now, before anyone reading this decides to drastically change up their routine…I am not a hair care expert.  In fact, most hair care experts would probably frown at my routine and be amazed that I have any hair at all.  However, I had to do what fits my lifestyle.  Does my hair feel or smell dirty with a once a month wash…no, no more than it would if I wore it braided for a month. Would my routine work for others?  Maybe, maybe not, but I do believe that the less you manipulate your hair, the more chances you give it to grow.  But, I won’t say anything else…let me share some pictures showing my hair growth…

 My 2nd BC in August 2009

Here’s a stretched braid-out from a few days ago.  (I plan on sharing this stretching technique in a a video soon!)

This is my hair growth between August 2009 and December 2012 (3 years).  My hair has grown much longer after my 2nd BC than it did after 4 years after my first BC.  The only thing that has changed is that I’ve gotten lazy with styling and don’t experiment as much 😉

 

Guest Blogger: Kinky Twists

Please welcome Inesa of 4CNaturalHair who was kind enough to share her tips for shampooing and maintaining kinky twists!

Haaaaaay! I am just loving these Kinky twists. I thought that I already knew how to wash and care for my kinky hair in this protective style, but after doing a little research, I was wrong.

Since I will be using natural oils, conditioners and other ingredients on my hair and scalp while in this protective style, I will have to wash the build up off of my scalp. The scalp needs to be clean and free of build up and environmental toxins in order for the sebum to circulate.

How to wash your scalp in KINKY TWISTS:

Items needed:

1- Head band or clips to put the hair up into what would be a puff
2- water bottle
3- Your favorite shampoo and conditioner

First take the head band or your clips and put hair up on top of head as if you were doing a puff. Pulling the sides and back up. Then you will take your spray bottle and add approximately 3-4 inches of water, depending on how thick your hair is. Take your shampoo and add 1 a teaspoon of shampoo into the water and shake to mix and dilute the shampoo. You may notice the water beginning to foam a little, but that is fine. If it is too sudsy add more water.

Next, spray your scalp in between the kinky twists. The aim is to clean the scalp so you do not want it full of suds. Keep spraying all over your scalp. Once you have done the sides and back, then remove your clips or band to get to the crown and or center of the head. Continue to spray your diluted shampoo onto your scalp until the bottle is empty.

You can do this over a sink or in the shower.

*Rinsing option 1- Put on your satin bonnet in the shower and let the cool or warm water run over it removing the diluted shampoo.

*Rinsing option 2- Rinse out your spray bottle really well and then just add cool or warm water to it and put your hair back up into a puff and start spraying the water onto your scalp to remove the shampoo. By holding your head over a sink, you will be able to see all of the dirt and toxins coming out of your scalp. After you have done the sides and back, remove your styling tools (if you choose to) and continue to spray the scalp wherever you have not reached.

Do not worry about your kinky twists, the mixture will drip through the twists from your scalp to cleanse the hair intertwined.

Once you have removed all of the diluted shampoo from your scalp and used up all of the water, you will notice that the ends will be dripping wet, so grab an old t-shirt or your hands and gently squeeze out the excess water.

Last, add your leave-in conditioner to some water (if you choose) and your favorite oil into a spray bottle and spray your scalp and the kinky twists. Spray the twist all the way down to the ends.

How to maintain Kinky twists during the night:

If you have mini kinky twists you might want to pin your twists up into a wrap prior to protecting. If you scalp feels dry, spritz your moisturizing mix or massage your oil onto your scalp prior to wrapping them up…

So wrap your kinky twists in a silk/ satin scarf or a large draw string satin bonnet to help preserve the style at night.

You can tie your knot in the front or back of your head, whichever is more comfortable for you.

How to maintain Kinky twists during the day:

The first thing to do is to remove your satin or silk scarf or bonnet and give your kinky twists a gentle shake to wake them up.

A lot of people keep saying to use an oil sheen spray, but with all of the chemicals in it, I won’t. So I just use my moisturizing mixture which consists of distilled water, JBCO,Shea Moisture restorative conditioner, Grape seed oil, and jojoba oil and spritz my scalp and twists if my scalp or kinky twists begin to feel dry, and then give them a gentle squeeze so that the conditioner and oils penetrate the twists. Style and go.

Other oils that you may use – Raw African Shea butter, Olive oil, Virgin Coconut oil.

Other tips for maintaining kinky twists:

* If you have stray hairs that come out of the twists, smooth them down with a twisting cream or gel.

* If your kinky twists become dull, just gently rub your normal natural oils between your hands and run your hands down the kinky twists.

* Be careful when applying an oil to the hair because too much oil can cause the kinky twists to slip out of your hair and clog pores.

* When washing in this style, focus on your scalp, not the twists.

I hope that this post is informative for those kinkie’s thinking about getting the kinky twist style put in. If anyone has any other tips for me, please leave them in the reply box. Have a great day!
Thanks for sharing Inesa!  Your twists are absolutely beautiful!

Video: Shampooing and Detangling a Young Child’s Hair (3 year old)

In this video, I show how I shampoo and detangle my 3 year old daughter’s hair.  Shampooing my daughter’s hair in the past was a battle and I was losing.  I finally found an effective way to get the job done without struggles and tears.  I hope this helps!

My Current Routine and Product Rotation

I can tell when the home schooling period comes around, because I have a lot less time for my hair.  This year is the first year that my daughter has daily lessons scheduled, so now I am home schooling two children instead of just one.  With added responsibilities, the last thing I feel like doing is spending a lot of time on hair. So what do I do when I have less time to spare on hair?  I keep it simple.

I am not currently doing any type of pre wash treatment, other than sometimes applying a bit of Coconut Oil if my hair is feeling very dry.  My chosen method of washing my hair is the shower, just because it is easier and I can knock out hair care and bathing at once.  Before I step foot in the shower, I divide my hair into 4 to 6 sections; securing them with clips.

This braid-out is the result of last wash/product experiment.

Shampooing & Conditioning: I’ve been using Kinky Curly Come Clean as my shampoo of choice for the past month.  I always use a shampoo when I cleanse my hair.  I really like this shampoo.  Could this be a new “must have” product for me?  Time will tell.

Anyway, to shampoo my hair, I remove one clip at a time and shampoo each section, making sure to concentrate on cleansing my scalp.  I then rinse the shampoo out using warm water, reapply the shampoo concentrating on my hair and rinse again using warm water.  I then apply a handful of condition and re-clip it.  Then I move on to the next section of hair, until I have shampooed and applied conditioner to all 4 – 6 sections of hair.

Detangling: Detangling is the next step in my hair care routine.  I detangle while I’m in the shower.  This is now a “must” in my routine.  If only I had known how effective detangling in the shower with a head full of conditioner is earlier in my hair journey, I may not have done a second BC.  Lately I’ve been detangling with Tresemme Pro-Vitamin B5 & Aloe Remoisturize Conditioner. It works great for detangling, but I am not attached to it.  In fact I just purchased a bottle of VO5 conditioner (from the dollar tree) that smells good enough to eat.  I cannot wait to give that a try.

After I have shampooed the sections and added the conditioner, I go back and remove one clip at a time.  With the conditioner still in my hair, I gently detangle each section with a wide tooth comb.  I then rinse the conditioner out using warm water and loosely twist the section before reclipping it and moving on to the next section.

Deep Conditioning: I am the first to admit that early on in my journey, I have not always been faithful to the deep conditioning process.  I have now made this a regular part of my routine.  For the past month or so, I had been using the Shea Moisture Hair Masque, applying it to my hair and leaving it on for 30 minutes before rinsing it out.  However, I have not been pleased with its results as a deep conditioner.  Right before my last shampoo session, I picked up a jar of BioInfusion Olive Oil Deep Conditioning Treatment, available only at Walgreens.  I applied this to my hair after rinsing the Tresemme conditioner out of my hair.  I added a plastic cap and sat under my table top hair dryer for 15 minutes.  I returned to the shower and rinsed out the conditioner, using cool water. So far I like it.  I will write a review after using it a few more times.

Styling: After my hair has been shampooed, conditioned, detangled, deep conditioned and rinsed, I dry it using a white t-shirt.  The last time I shampooed my hair, I un-clipped my hair before sitting under the dryer.  This was a mistake, because my hair ended up having a few tangles by the time I was ready to style it.  Next time I will leave the clips in.

For styling, I like to use Coconut Oil, but I ran out, so I skipped that step.  Since I had a few tangles, I used Kinky Curly Knot Today and combed through my hair a few times.  I proceeded to braid my hair into twelve medium sized braids. I usually use snap clips to hold the braids and pin them down, but I found that bobby pins work a lot better.  Snap clips tend to pull your hair.

Creating the braid-out: I left the braids in my hair for a few days (probably more like a week since I was so busy with home schooling), hiding the braids under a hat.  This actually served a dual purpose.  The weather here in the south was crazy hot for the past few weeks.  Keeping up hair braided up under a hat, served as a protective style and it kept my hair safe from the scorching sun (it’s finally cooling down – yay). Also, the longer you keep braids or twists in for a braid or twist-out, the better defined your braid or twist-out will be. Just keep in mind, that if you plan on leaving your braids in for a while, make sure you spritz it every so often to keep it from drying out!

After leaving my hair braided for a while, I finally un-braided my hair and separated it for the braid-out that you see in the pictures above.  If I had Coconut Oil on hand, I would rub some of it on my hair before removing the braids.  I did not, so I skipped that step. 

It has been almost a week and I am still wearing my braid-out; making sure to keep it from drying out by spraying it with a water and leave-in conditioner mix.  My routine may not sound simple, but I get two weeks of “hands out of my hair” styling for about 2 -3 hours work on shampoo day.  It works for me and I will probably be sticking to this routine for a while, with a few protective styles here and there in between.  I hope this helps some of you in coming up with your own routine; adjusting it as needed to make it work for you!

The Art of Wearing a Puff

Warning: Lots of puff pictures coming up.  Why? Because, 1) I like the way my hair looks in a puff, 2) I like the way my hair looks in a puff, and 3) I REALLY like the way my hair looks in a puff 🙂  Kidding aside, I think a puff is a cute go-to style on those days when your hair is not “working” for you.  It’s also a viable option when your braid-outs or twist-outs have seen “better” days.  However, if you are not using caution when making a puff, you may find yourself facing broken off hair.  Below, I will explain a few different methods for wearing a puff while protecting the edges of your hair and your puff itself.  As you read, remember that I am not a hair expert.  The info below is the results of trial and error.

First of all, when I decide to style my hair in a puff, my goal is to avoid using brushes as much as possible.  The more you use a brush on your hair, the more likely you are to damage the edges of your hair or cause breakage to the fronts, sides and back of your hair.

This is what I call a shrunken puff.  I call it “shrunken” because this is the same puff that I wore during my vacation.  It was once a “stretched” puff, but overtime, it shrunk down (you’ll see what a stretched puff looks like in a moment).

To style my hair into this puff, I sprayed my hair with water mixed with leave-in conditioner.  I then applied Eco Styler Olive Oil Styling Gel.  After applying the gel, I used my hand to smooth my hair back.  If I do use a brush, I avoid using a boar bristle brush.  Instead I use my Denman Cushion Brush Nylon Bristles, 9-Row.  From my experience, the Denman puts less stress on my hair.

If I decide not to use a brush, I take a “silk wrapping scarf”, the type of scarf that you would use to “wrap” relaxed hair, like this one Stay On Satin Natural Style Wrapping Scarf #1170 and I tie it tightly around the edges of my hair (close to my forehead and the nape of my neck).  Then I begin to push it backward, making sure to keep it tight.  If I do this correctly, my hair becomes slick around the front, sides and edges without the use of a brush.  Note: The hair around the front, sides and edges has to either be very moist or has to have gel for this to work properly if you want a smoother finish. I then wrap the wrapping scarf around my puff and tie it so that it is not seen (although you can see it in the pictures above).

Sometimes when I use gel on my hair, I can wear the same puff for multiple days without redoing it.  If I decide to do that, I take my regular large satin scarf (like this one Satin Nites Large Satin Scarf #779) and fold it and tie it so that it covers only the front, sides and back of my hair – leaving the puff out.  I go to sleep and when I wake up the next day, I just have to re-fluff my puff and remove the scarf.  This picture shows the same puff two days later.

Now onto the “stretched puff”.  The puff in the next few pictures was created after removing my last set of Ghana Plaits.  My hair was nice and stretched, so I used the same method above to create this puff.

When creating a puff on stretched hair, most likely you can get away with not using a brush.  Gel and/or water is usually enough to get a somewhat slick look.  Please note that this does however depend on your hair type.  If you have a spongy hair type, like my daughter and sister Co, your hair may not look slick no matter what you use.  With my daughter’s hair, I have to tie her hair down with a satin scarf (or a wrapping scarf – Stay On Satin Natural Style Wrapping Scarf #1170) for 30 minutes or more AFTER forming her puff to get it anywhere near slick.

Can you now see the big difference between my “stretched” puff and my “shrunken” puff?

My stretched puff is a lot fluffier and bigger.  If I leave it like this long enough (two days or so) however, it becomes shrunken.

So what happens when you want to wear a puff, but you do not have any gel or you just don’t like the slick look?  When I was on vacation and I removed my Ghana Plait bun, I did not have many options for my hair.  I decided to wear it in a puff, but I did not bring any gel. In this case, I once again made sure the front, sides and back of my hair was moist and used coconut oil (not a lot).  I gently brushed my hair, once again using the Denman brush, and used my satin wrapping scarf to secure my puff.  Here is hubby and I standing in line at Legoland in Carlsbad California.

Don’t get me wrong, even when I am at home and I have access to gel, I do not always use it.  I find that once you apply gel to your hair, the only way to get rid of the “hard” feeling is to shampoo it.  That is, unless you use Aloe Vera gel or make your own.  I no longer use Aloe Vera gel, because it does not hold my hair.  It acts more like a moisturizer than a gel for me.

I love to accessorize my hair when I wear puffs.  Here I am at the Viejas Outlets in Alpine California wearing a flower accessory that I made myself.

Now I wanted to add a few additional notes about my method of making a puff.  I do not always use my satin wrapping scarf to make my puffs.  I sometimes use Goody Bands to hold my puffs.  When I do use Goody Bands, I cut the band so that I am able to tie it as tight as I need to.  I never use rubber bands!  Please keep in mind that long term use of Goody Bands may dry your hair out and could possibly cause breakage.  I prefer my Satin wrapping scarf.

Below is an old video that I put together on making puffs (it is about 5 years old now). I do not use this method of creating a puff anymore, but I thought it might be useful in giving some of you ideas on other ways to create a puff without stressing your hair line.  Also, note that in this video, I am using a boar bristled brush.  I avoid using boar bristled brushes now, because they tend to be rough on your hair.  I prefer my Denman.

You are watching: Making A Puff (Length: 3:36)

Stills By: Diego 2 Memphis (LV Burns)

Music By: Erykah Badu from her Worldwide Underground album

Guest Poll Response: Hair Washing and Length Retention

I wanted to take a moment to respond to last Sunday’s poll question, submitted by T.O.  First, here is her message:

“I have practiced washing my hair once a week in the last one year and I have lost about 6 inches of hair due to that. I wash in the shower so I dont know if my breakage has to do with the force at which the shower is hitting my head. I use non sulfate shampoos and even co-wash. I do monthly protein treatment followed by a moisturizing treatment. I am healthy and even take multivitamins.. Please help!!! How often should hair be washed? And should it be done in the shower or at the sink?”

My response: I am no hair care expert, so the following is only my opinion.  The best opinion would of course come from a natural hair care expert. My first thought T.O. as I read your message was that the hair breakage may be due to the method of detangling, rather than the hair washing method.  I am wondering what tools and method you are using to detangle.

Looking at the poll results so far, it appears that most people are shampooing their hair once a week in the shower.  I do not think that washing your hair in this method is causing breakage.  I could be wrong, so to better protect your hair, maybe you could try using coconut oil as a sealant to protect your hair before you shampoo it.  I have read in more places than one that hair swells as it absorbs water during shampooing.  Without a sealant, this swelling could possibly cause breakage over time.

I currently shampoo my hair once every two weeks.  I used to shampoo it every week, but for me, it’s a lot of work and I cannot imagine that detangling my hair every week is the best for it.  This of course does not apply to everyone. Some people can probably wash and detangle every week with no problem.  This is just what works for me.  I am currently using Whole Food’s 365 Shampoo and Conditioner.  I occational use  Shea Moisture’s Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Hair Masque. I confess, I do not do a whole lot of deep conditioning.  I may do it once a month…if that (I should probably be more consistent with this). Immediately after shampooing my hair, I apply coconut oil all over.  For detangling, I use either a wide tooth comb or the Tangle Teezer.  I only use the Tangle Teezer if my hair is very tangled.  Usually, my wide tooth comb is enough.  I then braid my hair into about ten braids for a braid-out.  Sometimes I do bantu-knots or twists, but usually I go with the braids.

A few tips that I always follow to retain length:

1) If my hair is dry, I avoid putting a comb or brush in it.  Dry hair usually equals breakage.  I never, ever attempt to detangle it while it is dry!

2) My hair loves moisture.  If I am wearing a style for a while (ie. two strand twists, braid-out etc.) I make sure to keep my hair moist with a spray bottle of water mixed with oil or conditioner.

3)  At night, my hair is on either my satin pillowcase or tied up in a satin head wrap

4) I’m lazy about protective styling that requires a lot of time to do, such as two-strand twists, so my protective style of choice are the large braids, hidden under a hat for a while before I take them down to wear in a braid out

5) I try to trim my ends every 3 months or so

That is about all that I can think of.  I hope some of this information helps.  If any of you reading this have your own tips to add, please let them be known in a comment below…

Q&A: Toddler Hair Growth

I received the following message in an email the other day.  I wanted to post it along with my answer, because I believe that it may be helpful to other mothers of toddler daughters.

“Hello,
I was looking thru the pics of your daugthers hair… my daugthers hair at 1 looks JUST like your little girls did… I hear so many negative comments…it makes me so sad…


Please help me : What products did you use on your little ones hair to maintain the growth? The pic at 18 mths is amazing! Thanks in advance for your help…God bless you…”

This is my daughter's hair at a year old.

My response:

My daughter's hair at around 18 months old.

Thank you for your inquiry.  First off, I want to say that I am sorry that you are getting so many negative comments. When my daughter was a year old, I made a lot of mistakes when caring for her hair.  If I had it all to do over again, I would do things differently.  Now I take better care of it.

When it comes to caring for your baby’s hair, keep these two words in mind: moisture & protection.  By protection, I mean protective styling.  This is a great way to assure length retention.  I did a lot of that when my daughter was little because she did not like for me to comb her hair (here’s a link to a protective style that I often used when my daughter was young – braid n braid style).  While your daughter’s hair is in a protective style, keep a spray bottle of distilled water mixed with either oil on hand (jojoba or olive oil would be good).  Be sure to keep her hair moist using the spray bottle.  I spray my daughter’s hair every other night, when it is in a protective style, before she goes to bed (do not make the hair wet, just slightly moist). Remember, dry hair equals broken hair

I’ve just discovered coconut oil.  I wish I knew about it when she was little.  If I had it all to do over

again, I would apply coconut oil to her hair often, especially the areas where the hair is short. I have no idea what products I used on her hair at that time, but now I use Cara B Naturally’s products.  Their mist is great to use if you want to alternate it with the spray bottle/water/oil combo that I mention above. Here’s a link to some of the products that I have used at some time on my daughter’s hair: http://cbpublish.com/myhairjourney_files/category/natural-hair/naturalness-kids/child-hair-product-reviews/ You may want to read my reviews and try some of them on your daughter’s hair, keeping in mind that hair can be so different, so what worked for my daughter may not work for yours.

With patience, care and protective styling, your daughter’s hair will grow and more importantly will be healthy!  Here are two websites that really inspired me to take better care of my daughter’s hair: Beads, Braids and Beyond and Happy Girl Hair.  They have tons of good advice and tips.

I hope you find something in this message that helps and I wish you well on your journey of caring for your baby’s hair!  Please keep me updated.  Feel free to contact me with questions at any time!

My daughter's hair at 3 years old.

These pictures were originally posted here: My Daughter’s Hair History

My Hair Routine & Bantu Knot-out Pictures (6 – 9 inches)

So what is my current hair routine?  My own hair routine is not as defined as the routine I have for my daughter.  With her routine, I’ve found a few products that I like and I’ve been sticking to them.  For myself, I am still searching for products.  I wash her hair once a week.  I try to wash mine once a week, but I don’t always do it.  I am going to do my best to share my routine while showing pictures of my last bantu knot out.  Once again, I like to mention that I am not a hair care expert.  I post my routine based on trial and error.  Also, all hair is different, what works for me may not work for others.  With that out of the way, here’s my routine & bantu knot-out pics:

My current product rotation includes Whole Foods 365 Lavender Shampoo and Conditioner for cleansing my hair.  I recently purchased Shea Moisture Raw Shea Restorative Trauma Masque at Target. So far I like it, but I would like to try it a few more times before I review it.  I am currently washing my hair once every one week or two. I plan on using the Shea Moisture Deep Treatment about once a month (we’ll see how that goes).

After washing my hair, I apply Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil to my hair and I usually like to stretch it or do bantu knots.   If I decide to just do a wash n go, I rub the coconut oil into my wet hair.  If I am doing the large braids or bantu-knots, then I like to apply the coconut oil directly to each section of hair, detangling the hair as I go, before braiding or knotting the section.  I also apply either ORS Smooth & Hold Pudding, Jane Carter Solution Wrap & Roll or a new product that I recently purchased – Curls Goddess Curl Gel from Target (again, I will review this product after using it a few more times) to each section.

If I am wearing a wash n go, I will usually wash my hair with just conditioner the next morning.  If I am wearing braids or knots, I allow them to dry for at least a day.  If I need to leave the house, I tie my hair up with a satin scarf and put on a hat.  (Now that it’s winter, I avoid leaving the house with wet hair).  After the braids or knots have dried, I remove them.  If I am removing braids, I comb the loosened sections of hair out and finger style into a stretched afro or big puff.  If I am removing knots, I gently uncurl them and finger fluff them out (I do not use a comb).  The result is a bantu knot-out like the one seen in these pictures.

Whether I am wearing a stretched afro or a knot-out, the style usually lasts for almost a week.  I make sure to keep my hair moist by very lightly spritzing it with a oil and water mixture.  I just take a spray bottle, add water and add oil to the water.  I do not measure it.  If I don’t have oil on hand, I mix the water with a great smelling conditioner. In the mornings, I maintain the style by finger styling and fluffing my hair.

Once the stretched afro or bantu knot-out begin to look bad, I usually rewash my hair and begin the process all over again.  Other hair tips that I follow is keeping my hair tied up at night in a satin scarf or sleeping on a satin pillowcase (I do not tie a scarf on my head if I am wearing a stretched afro or bantu-knot out – a scarf would flatten the style).  I also do not use direct heat on my hair.  I confess that I have never been a big deep conditioning person.  I bought the Shea Moisture Treatment to try to get into deep conditioning, but I can probably count on both my hands the number of times I have deep treated or deep conditioned my hair in my five years of being natural.  Also, since my 2nd big chop, I have stopped trimming my hair as much as I did the first time around.  I guess time will tell if less trimming with make a difference to my overall hair health or not.  Alright, that’s about it…I hope I didn’t forget anything 🙂


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