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 😉

 

Video: Braid-Out Mid Wear Re-Braid

This video shows my technique for a braid-out mid-wear re-braid. I sometimes wear my braid-outs for up to four weeks. However, there are times when I want to give my braid-outs a “fresh” look. That is when I do a re-braid.

Also, I have a big surprise at the end of the video…our new Natural-ness Knit Satin lined hats.

Cornrow Braid-out (one week later)

I wanted to post an update of the braid-out that I posted a few days ago (seen here).  Here are pictures of the same braid-out, a week later.  To maintain the style, I just spritzed my hair with a water and leave-in conditioner mist (when needed) and put on my satin cap.  In the morning I re-fluffed and went about my business.

I don’t have much to say about the style.  I do get asked how I manage to keep my braid-outs for so long.  In my case, I often keep my hair braided up for a few days in order to get the most definition.

I have also noticed that my braid-outs look better when done on hair that has not been freshly shampooed.  If I want a “banging” braid-out…I wear my hair in a braid-out for a few weeks, then I rebraid it without re-washing it (video on my Mid-Wear rebraid technique coming in my next post).

“Oh…but isn’t your hair…*gasp* dirty when you do that?”  My answer…not really.  I do not use a whole lot of product in my hair, so there’s no build-up on my hair or scalp.  “Does your scalp itch after a few weeks?”  My answer…not really.  Not any more than it did when I was shampooing my hair every day or every week.

I have to say that I love the fullness that a braid-out takes on after being worn for a while.  I get the most compliments on my two week braid-outs.

Last view of my cornrow braid-out.  I ended up wearing this braid-out for at least another week before shampooing my hair and restyling.

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!

My Six Year Natural Hair Journey

I created this video in celebration of my 6 year nappiversary!  I first chopped the relaxer out of my hair on July 26, 2005.  Now six years later, I’m still “keeping it nappy”.  If you are interested in seeing more pictures of the styles shown in this video, please check out the following links:

Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, Years 5 & 6

By the way, the song used in this video, “The Natural Hair Song”, was written and performed by Anitra Jay (http://www.AnitraJay.com). You can download the song for free at: http://www.facebook.com/anitrajay

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

Ghana Plaits: Another Way to Stretch Hair

When I decided to try the Ghana Plait style a few weeks ago, I was motivated by a second reason – it’s a great way to stretch your hair!  Here is my hair after I removed my Ghana Plait Bun:

After I removed all of the thread, this is how my hair looked.

I like stretching my hair out this way better than doing the braid method, because it requires less combing.  I do not like to use combs on my hair when it is dry.

I was still on vacation when these pictures were taken and although I brought a lot of hair products and tools with me, I did not bring all that I needed.  So, I did not have a lot of styling options after I took the Ghana Plaits down.

One last view of my stretched hair.

Since I did not have everything that I needed for my hair, I went ahead and opted for a puff (I also had no gel, so my puff was not very smooth…I did have my flower though 🙂 ) – Click picture to enlarge

To smooth back my puff (when there was no gel in sight), I sprayed the front of my hair with water and used coconut oil as a gel replacement.  It wasn’t perfect, but it worked – click picture to enlarge.

By the way, these pictures were taken at the Viejas Outlet Stores in Alpine California, next to the Viejas Casino – beautiful place 🙂

 

 

Video: Ghana Plait Bun (African Hair Threading) on Natural Hair

This is a video of my first attempt at creating a bun using the Ghana Plait (African Hair Threading) technique. This style requires weave thread. I also used Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-In conditioner and Curls Brand Goddess Curls Gel. I kept this style up for 1 week (although I am sure that it would have lasted longer). I was very pleased with the results (scroll below video for pictures of the style).

By the way, the song used in this video, “The Natural Hair Song”, was written and performed by Anitra Jay (www.AnitraJay.com). You can download the song for free at: www.facebook.com/anitrajay

Thanks Anitra for allowing me to use it!

Here are some additional pictures of the style:

 

 

Length Check, Twists and Green Smoothies

This post is a follow-up to the “My Hair is not Happy” video that I posted a week ago (didn’t get to see it – here’s the link).  I have not posted a length check in a very long time; probably not since my 2nd BC.  I really don’t like doing length checks because I do not want anyone to feel that they need to compare their hair growth to mine.  However, I am on a mission to improve my hair care routine as well as making a few changes to my water intake and food choices, so I decided to finally begin monitoring my length retention and hair growth.

My hair is currently around 9 inches on the sides and the back.  The front is slightly shorter, but is still very close to 9 inches.  The middle picture gives you an idea of how much shrinkage I get when I two-strand twist my hair.

My main length retention strategy will be protective styling.  Here are pictures of my last set of twists.  The only product that I used for these two-strand twists is ORS Lock & Twist gel (a favorite of mine for the past 5, almost 6 years).  These twists were completed two weeks ago.  I am currently still wearing them, but I will probably shampoo them, allow them to dry and wear a twist-out for a few days before re-twisting.  My goal is to keep my hair in some sort of protective style all summer (with short breaks in between).  At the end of the summer, I plan on posting another length check to compare my results.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I trimmed the ends of each twist just to get rid of any raggedy ends.  This twist & trim technique is called dusting.

In addition to increasing my length retention, I am also working on improving my water intake as well as my consumption of fruits and veggies.  This is a part of my overall health goal.  Here’s a picture of one of the green smoothies that I have been making on an almost daily basis.  Like I mention in the video linked above, I add a few handfuls of spinach to my blender and puree it with 100% juice.  I then add frozen fruit (I like mixed tropical fruit) and more juice.  Then I blend it until it is a smooth consistency.  My children love the green smoothies!  If you decide to try the smoothie and you want an interesting flavor, add some bell pepper 🙂  I did this once because I did not want the bell pepper to go bad, and it actually tasted pretty good…interesting…but good.

Oh and did I mention that I have begun jogging?  I would love to become one of those people who are addicted to jogging.  You know, one of those people who can’t start their day right without a 3 mile jog… but for now, I can’t even run a mile 🙂  Hey, I’m taking it one day at a time.

AfroVeda Curl Define (follow up)

Over the past few weeks or so, I’ve been doing sort of an informal comparison of AfroVeda Curl Define and Goddess Curls Gel (Curls Brand).  I wanted to make sure that I was fair in my review and comparison of both products.  Again, I have to say that I like both products.   Also, I must be fair in saying that they are not the same type of product.  One is a cream and the other is a gel.  The only comparison that I am doing is comparing the results when I use each product for a braid out.

I am doing this follow up, because in my review of AfroVeda, the pictures of my braid-outs were either too far away or were pictures of my hair in a puff, where you could not fully see the results.  I wanted to post new pictures of my hair after using AfroVeda, so that you could really see what my hair looks like after using this product.

Here is the top of my braid-out.  This braid-out was done on freshly washed hair.  After washing I applied AfroVeda Curl Define to small sections of my hair, before braiding into about 12 – 15 braids.

I must say that my hair was very soft to the touch after using the AfroVeda.  There are definitely some conditioning qualities to the product.  I love the texture created and there is actually quite a bit of shine!

On my first review of the product, I rated the product as “not bad”, but based on the results of this braid-out, I would probably bump my rating up to (great product):

I have about half a jar of this product left.  I am not sure if I am going to repurchase it after I run out.  I think it would consider repurchasing it if it were available in a store close to me (i.e. Target…hint,hint).

For now, I will continue to use this product.  I may even consider using it on my daughter to see what effect it has on her hair.  We’ll see…overall, I think this product is definitely worth checking out.  I hope this review helps!

Related Posts with Thumbnails