Tuesday, 1 July 2014

My TWA Regimen- 3 Weeks Post Big Chop

In my previous post, I did promise to share the details about my current hair regimen.

As you know, I currently have a TWA which makes washing and styling a whole lot easier for me now than it was 3 weeks ago when my hair was shoulder length and I was still in the transitioning phase. Trying to get those two textures to blend was not at all easy for me, and I'll detail the very real struggles I faced with that in a future post.

My current hair regimen is very simple:

I co-wash in the shower every other day, and deep condition once a week.

As I mentioned in the last post, I mostly co-wash with the Hawaiian Silky Argan Oil Hydrating Sleek Conditioner. This conditioner is sulfate and paraben free. The smell is somewhat strong and does make me sneeze for a minute or two, but I can deal with that because of how fantastic my hair feels when I use it. :)

I do not shampoo often, but when I do, I use a sulfate free shampoo like Creme of Nature's Argan Oil Moisture and Shine Shampoo.

After I come out of the shower, I wrap a t shirt around my head for a few minutes to soak up the excess water. Once that t shirt comes off, I follow the either the L.O.C (liquid, oil, cream) or the L.C.O (liquid, cream, oil) methods, depending on my mood. Lately, I've been doing the L.C.O method more, simply because the cream that I use is water based, so I use the oil to seal.

While water is the most obvious thing to use as a liquid, I like to add a water based leave in conditioner to my hair while its still wet (not dripping wet, though!). My staple leave in is the Giovanni Direct Leave In Conditioner.

I cannot say enough good things about this leave in; this is what made the last few months of my transition bearable. My hair loves it. A little also goes a long way: I've had this same bottle since the end of February, and you can see that I still have a good amount left.

After using my leave in, I will do one of three things:

1. Apply half a tablespoon of my EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) to seal in the moisture, followed by my ElastaQP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Moisturizer. Occasionally, I may use the Coconut Curling Cream from Shea Moisture to style, but I find that product works best on my second day hair, for some reason.

By the way, the ElastaQP Moisturizer was another product I couldn't live without during my transition. It made the hair soft and manageable. The first ingredient is water, so that's always a good thing.

2. Apply the ElastaQP first and the EVOO second, using a bit more EVOO than I do in the previous method. Layering the products in this way gives me better overall curl definition, even though the white residue does stay on my hair for a few minutes longer.

3. Apply the ElastaQP followed by 100% raw Shea butter. I don't do anything fancy with it, I simply melt it in my hands before applying it to my hair. My hair feels the best after I've used the Shea butter; it really helps to lock the moisture in. Occasionally, I will use a bit of the Olive Oil EcoStyler Gel on my edges.

My technique for styling my hair is very simple. I apply all products to my hair using a circular motion with the palms of both hands. I find that this really makes my curls pop. However, I find myself having to pay more attention to some parts of my hair more than others, as I have multiple textures throughout my head.

For now, I just wet my hair with a little bit of water, and add a small amount of the Coconut Curling Cream when it gets dry.

A satin scarf is a must.

That's basically all there is to it. :)

Remember, this is what works for me. You may have to play around with products to find what works for you. Just be patient, and I guarantee you'll eventually find something that works for you. :)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Live and Learn: A Brief Tale of Two Hair Mistakes

Hair mistakes.

We all make them from time to time, and I'm certainly no exception

The last time I big chopped, I didn't have much of a plan.

I shampooed (regularly) and conditioned (more or less), put in some olive oil, used my Eco Styler gel, and that was it. I expected my hair to respond well, and to look its best.

I won't say it was the worst to manage, but the majority of struggles I faced had less to do with the fact that my hair is very dense and thick, and more to do with that fact that I had not built a solid regimen (I will detail my current regimen in a future post).

Here are two of the major mistakes I made last time around.

1. Shampooing without conditioning.

Where do I even start with this one? There is a reason shampoo alone isn't good for anyone's hair, be it silky straight or afro-textured.

Simply put, the purpose of shampoo is to cleanse the hair. This is all well and good, but as a part of that, it also has a tendency to strip the hair of it's natural oils, due to the harsh ingredients. The purpose of conditioner is to restore that moisture balance.

After I shampooed, my scalp would feel clean, but my hair would feel stiff and dry and I couldn't figure out the reason. I was very frustrated.

Today, I use sulfate free moisturising shampoos like the Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisture and Shine Shampoo. I also use their Intensive Conditioning Treatment.

Most times, I simply co-wash, as I don't usually have enough product buildup to warrant shampoo use at this stage. Co-washing-washing the hair with conditioner- is enough to keep my hair clean, and I love how soft it is afterwards.  I usually use my Hydrating Sleek Argan Oil Conditioner by Hawaiian Silky.

2. Never Deep Conditioning. Ever.

This is something I knew I would have to change if I wanted my hair to look and feel its best. I try to deep condition once a week now that I have a TWA, and there's been a major difference in how my hair feels now, as opposed to how it felt two years ago when I had first big chopped.

The Nothing But Intense Healing Mask from Gro Healthy is my deep conditioner of choice, although I will sometimes use the Intense Conditioning Treatment by Creme of nature that I previously mentioned.

These two things should have been an essential part of my routine the first time. Had I done these things, I'm certain that my hair would have been much more moisturised, and therefore manageable. I also probably would have had a lot more fun with it as a result.

Having learned this lesson the first time, I'm making sure that I make the right choices for my hair this time around. I'm no longer scared to handle my own hair. :)

So remember, if your hair seems to be unmanageable, see if there's anything obvious that you may have overlooked.

My problem was conditioning, but yours may be different. Maybe your hair doesn't like protein. Perhaps it hates mineral oil. Try different things, and you may be surprised to find that your hair is far more manageable than you previously realised.

Learn your own hair. :)

After all, your hair journey is going to surprise you.

Be willing to live and learn. ;)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Your Hair Was So Pretty...

In September of 2009, I made the decision to cut off all of my relaxed hair. I hadn't made the decision in order to shock anyone, nor because anything had been wrong with my hair; I made it because I had been going through some things, was battling depression, and felt like I needed a fresh start. I didn't know if I would relax my hair again in the future or not, but at that point, I was ready to try something new.

Prior to this, I had always been 'the girl with the long, thick hair'. My decision did catch several people off guard, and I had thought that I was reasonably prepared for any negative backlash. I was wrong.

In Barbados, and probably other countries as well, the concept of a woman with long, thick, healthy hair chopping it all off is amazingly taboo.

Most persons were very diplomatic (read: "Oh, it will grow back.") while a few genuinely seemed to like the fact that I'd done something different. Encouraged by the latter camp, I'd just begun to feel safe to enjoy being myself without the aforementioned label of 'the girl with the long, thick hair' when it happened.

"Your hair was so pretty!!!!"


All of a sudden, all of my self doubts came rushing back. I felt exposed, ugly and even more depressed, but I forced myself not to do anything drastic, like run and put a relaxer in my hair on the basis of one woman's comment.

Even though I tried to shake it off, that comment got me thinking about what persons consider to be 'pretty hair', especially here in Barbados, and more importantly, what I believed 'pretty hair' to be.

What I found out showed me just how much I had relied on the length of my hair to be comfortable in my own skin. I had always thought that short hair, be it natural or relaxed was pretty on other women, so why couldn't I apply that same rule to myself and be confident in who I was? After all, didn't 'pretty hair' have more to do with the health of the hair, as opposed to the length, or whether or not it was relaxed or natural?

It took a while, along with a lot of personal development, for me to be confident in my own skin. I became less and less attached to my hair and focused more on becoming the person Jehovah wants me to be.

When I relaxed my hair again about a year later, I did it because the mood struck me, and not because of depression or because I felt that I would once again be seen as having that lady's definition of having pretty hair.

Since then, my life journey has been more about being healthy spiritually and emotionally, which naturally leads into being healthy physically. This includes taking care of my hair in a far more healthy way than I used to, and I'm much happier for it.

In fact, I recently cut all my (healthy) relaxed hair off for the 2nd time! :)

Not everyone will be in love with my choice, but thanks that comment about 'pretty hair' five years ago, I'm quite a bit more confident and less likely to let the opinions of others affect me like they once did.

After all, long or short, relaxed or natural, I do have pretty (healthy) hair. :)

Be confident, ladies! It's easier said than done, especially when sporting a TWA, but if you keep working at it, it will pay off. Trust me, I know. :)