Hair Collage!

Hair Collage!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Initial Thoughts: Extra Wide, Extra Long Curlformers

I slept on 48 of these for the first time Tuesday night.

Ohh boy. What a restless sleep full of tossing, turning, flipping, get the idea. How I finally slept was using a small rectangular pillow on top of my regular pillow. Pic to follow soon.

However, I might say that these are more comfortable than the generic. This plastic/mesh is much softer and easier to bend. Hope that makes sense. The generics I have are harder and have no give. I don't look forward to sleeping on 48 of these again but I'd rather sleep on these than the generics.

I also tried to use the dryer once I had all 48 in but no dice. It can fit maybe 30 of the EWEL curlformers, which is kind of a bummer. Guess I'll dry in sections.

Do you need 48? I honestly don't know. I like having 48 because I can do small sections. I split my hair in half and use 23 in the front and 25 in the back.

Let me just say the Blowdried hair + curlformers was an epic fail. Not a curl in sight. No worries, I have confidence in my next test. I'm going to wet my hair like I should have and use some Ecostyler Argan Oil.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Curlformer Olympics

I have two packs of Extra Wide Extra Long (EWEL) Curlformers and their softhood dryer waiting for me under the tree!

Not my tree but close!

I can't wait!

I've purchased an extra hook, Jane Carter Wrap & Roll Foam and Kiss My Face Upper Management Gel.

I plan to use Matrix Biolage leave-in and Pul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum for each set.

Product Trials:

1. Blowdried hair with a little PM serum.

2. Wet hair + Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel

3. Wet hair + JC Foam.

4. Wet hair + KMF Gel.

Hopefully I can have my set perfect by New Year's Eve! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Strand Tests: Why They're Important

The PJ inside of me loves getting new products. I used to run home, jump in the shower (or dunk my head under the tap) and slather on my new product.

But after the Aveda Disaster I had to stop doing that. Otherwise, I was going to end up with severely damaged, thin hair. If I did a test patch I could have:
  • Saved myself HOURS, yes hours, of detangling
  • Prevented the need to cut 2-3 inches of my newly BSL hair.
  • Saved my hair from TONS of split ends and mid-shaft splits, most likely caused from poor detangling.
Now every time my PJ fingers get the urge to slather anything on, I just think Aveda and slow down.

Before I use anything on my hair, I do a test patch. My strand test section is below. I chose that spot because it's small, discreet and combines my 3C and 4A sections. Perfect. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

DOH! Do your own research!

One of the first hair bloggers that I looked up to was Curly Nikki.

2010- Although I was still transitioning at this point, her hair looked like what I imagined my hair would look like. This was just a guess because I had no clue what my hair looked like. As a child my hair was always blow-dried or in some stretched state. 

So, I went out and bought some of Nikki's staples, most memorably Herbal Essences Hello Hydration. I used it several times and each time it made my hair feel tangled, coated and gross. Wash day wasn't easy at a few months post, but it was extra painful with the HEHH. I came to my senses and tossed it.

2013- A few years later, I still followed Nikki's blog even though our hair has different likes. Now more educated about my hair, I knew that we had similar textures and fine strands. I saw a post of hers raving about AG products and rushed to Ulta to pick a few up. 

I got home, tried the AG conditioner and fortunately, the Aveda Disaster taught me to do a test patch. My test patch is a small section in the back that has my 3c and 4a sections.  Although it didn't make my hair a tangled matted mess, my hair felt horrible. No curl definition (which is how I tell if my hair is moisturized) and my hair felt off. I had HEHH flashbacks and put the bottle down. 

Although Nikki and I have similar hair and strand size, our porosity is totally different!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I'm Natural and I still use Protein.

Yup. During my hair research I read that only chemically treated heads need protein. Basically, the idea is that the keratin bonds are broken in chemically treated hair, whereas with natural hair, the bonds haven't been broken. So I took a protein break for a few weeks. I usually wash my hair once maybe twice a week with Trader Joe's Nourish Spa set. 

After a while, I noticed that my hair lacked definition and wasn't clumping as much. My hair is pretty fine/tangle-prone, but it was tangling more than usual. At this point I hadn't dealt with over-moisturized natural hair, so it took me a while to make the connection.

My natural hair needs less protein than my relaxed/transitioning hair, but it still needs protein. As a relaxed head I rotated protein and moisture every week. As a natural, I henna (which is a massive protein treatment for me) every 6-8 weeks and use protein twice in between.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

3. Holiday 2014: Going Away with WIMPS!

Zip-line View
When I go on holiday I like to be active. I'm not a sleep late, stay on hotel grounds and lounge at the pool type of girl. I use the hotel to sleep, shower and change. I go out every day to explore and experience things. I never eat at the hotel, plus the markup is probably insane.

So, imagine my surprise when I started talking to my family about events for our trip next year. Zip-lining is at the top of my list. Although I'm afraid of heights and haven't been on a roller coaster in years, zip lining in PR was an amazing experience. Exhilarating. I'm not getting on a roller coaster anytime soon, I'm itching to get on my next zip-line.


So I started looking up zip-lining places, assuming that my little brother, cousin and I would go. Imagine my shock when my roller coaster riding, water slide height addicted brother told me that he didn't want to go zip-lining because he "doesn't do those things anymore." WTH!? First of all the kid is 14, so what is this "I don't do that anymore" ish? BOOOOO!

I don''t care, but I will be zip-lining at some point in St. Kitts.

All pictures belong to me and were taken by me.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Generic Curlformer Experience!

I've wanted curlformers from the moment I heard about them. Heatless curls that could stretch my natural hair? SOLD! Except not really, because I don't like the Shirley Temple style of the orange/pink ones on me. I prefer a looser curl so I forgot about curlformers and moved on.

About two months ago I read a thread on the hair boards about the barrel curlformers being released in 24" length. SOLD! Thanks to a Black Friday sale I was able to get two packs of 24 and the soft hood dryer for 20% off as a Christmas gift from my mom.

But, I was worried that 48 curlformers wouldn't be enough. My hair is fine, but also dense. Instead of shelling out the $$ for another pack of curlformers, I shopped around on Ebay and bought a 2 packs of 8 for about $35 with tax.

The packs that I got were pretty crappy. The mesh was ripped at the end of 8 of them. The plastic ends were, I assume dipped, and some of the material crept up the mesh. I had to use a pair of tweezers to remove the plastic bit by bit. I'm not pleased and plan to contact the seller

Friday, November 22, 2013

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum vs. Generic Smoothing Serum


I'm quite pleased to report that the Generic Value Products version PM SS Serum is very similar to the original. Possibly, the only difference I've seen is that the generic makes my hair dry VERY fast. This might be good or bad we'll see.

The generic is sold at Sally Beauty Supply at 6 ounces for $8.99, with the member card it's $7.99

I buy the Paul Mitchell version at Ulta with a $3.50 coupon. Ulta doesn't have prices online, but I'll update this post once I stop in there. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

2. Holiday 2014: What To Do With My Hair

As a hair aficionado junkie I've been thinking about how to style my hair for my two week holiday. I need something I can do myself guilt trip my mom into helping me with, because I'll probably wear this style for a month tops. I don't want to pay someone $$$ to do a month long style. Ideally I'd do about 50 braids on my whole head. I can't decide whether to do with or without extensions.

And I want to make sure my edges don't get snatched. I've been nurturing them for about two weeks and I don't want two weeks of fun to ruin them.


Not this long, probably just an 1" past my hair
Shelli of Hairscapades, this is her own hair.

These helped me transition for 26 months, and maintain my sanity in college. Even though I wore them for years I actually don't like braids. We five-heads need more flexibility in our hairstyles to allow maximum forehead coverage LOL.

However, I don't want to fuss with my hair. I want to be able to get up and hit the beach. I can do that with my natural hair, but I'm worried about the effect of the salt water on my hair. I feel like after I came back from PR in  2012, my hair was so dry! But I was going back and forth between the pool and the ocean. My hair was also too short to put it in pigtails or one long braid and have it look good. 

By our trip my hair should be past my goal of 20 inches, so enough for a nice looking single braid.

Kinky Twists:

Not really an option. My hair doesn't like twists with my own hair, so I can only imagine the knotted, tangled chewed up mess that would be waiting for me on the take down after daily beach trips.

Random Tumblr pic

Vlogger Ms. Naturally Mary

Shelli of Hairscapades, with
Nafy Collection Afro Puffy Twist Hair.

Shelli has a great review on her first thoughts about her twists and final thoughts here. Our textures are different, but we both have fine, flyaway prone hair. 

All pictures are from Google, none belong to me. I've tried to credit people where I can. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Inversion Method: My Experience and Thoughts.

When I read about Inversion on LHCF in October, I was very skeptical. My regimen is simple. I'm not a bandwagoner and have never tried Monistat, Sulfur, Paltas, Vitamin OD'ing, Unicorn Tears or Breast Milk. Just kidding on the last two before someone thinks I'm serious LOL.

I couldn't believe that massaging oil into my hair and then standing upside down for 4 minutes was supposed to give me an inch in a week/month. But what did I have to lose. I already had an oil (you can use one of your choice, my preference is jojoba) and I definitely had the time.

So in October I inverted for a week, skeptically with my mom laughing from the couch. I know we all love receipts so I took some half-hearted pictures expecting to get a good laugh in 7 days. Instead I got an entire inch! I was shocked and still am shocked.

So for November's inversion, I stepped my game up and took better pictures. If you think these are bad, trust me October's were much worse.

November 1, 2013 15"
Test Section

November 8, 2013 16"
Test Section
November 8, 2013 16"
Random section

 Don't laugh, I took these by myself with the other hand holding the camera. If I get a new camera for Christmas, I'll make sure to get one with a timer so I can get more of my head in the shot. I know how the internet skeptics get down, since I used to moonlight as one.

I invert bending at the waist and touching my toes for four minutes. I usually watch TV but sometimes I listen to music or just meditate. In case it's not obvious, don't eat too soon before inverting, otherwise you'll be nauseas.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Product Fail: Tresemme Reformulation #??

Once upon a time, before its (I think they're at two now?) formulations I loved Tresemme Naturals (nourishing moisture with aloe and avocado). It guaranteed perfect faux W&G's, smooth buns, ponytails and moisturized hair for days.

Today, I'm staring at an almost full reformulated bottle, that is on it's way into the trash. There have been countless blogs, threads, videos etc. about the topic so I have nothing to add that hasn't been said.

It miraculously tangled a previously detangled section and made my ends clump into a massive knot. I had to lean under the sink to re-wet the section and start over with TJ's Nourish Spa. 

Not sure who this is, but I feel the same
way she does about this trash.
On a side note, I'm noticing that my hair prefers natural products. When I use TJ's or KC my hair is soft, moisturized, clumps perfectly and is overall amazing. I might be onto something…

All items were purchased by me, unfortunately since this Tresemme product is garbage!

Friday, October 25, 2013

1. Holiday 2014 Prep: The Planning Stage

It's official, my family is heading to St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, Tortolla and possibly St. Thomas in 2014! This is a homecoming and first international trip wrapped up in one for my mom and brother respectively.

St. Kitts
Frigate Bay, Nevis

Shoal Bay, Anguilla

So being the obsessive planner I am, I've started prepping for our holiday. Starting early means that I can afford to wait for deals, search for coupons and be more selective. This post is going to have a lot of name dropping and price tags, even though it isn't sponsored. The only company I'm loyal to is the one with the best price!

My new camera is waiting under the tree for me, courtesy of Mom!

Canon SX510 Powershot

It's a Canon SX510 Powershot, 12.2 MP and 30x zoom (Price matching, a coupon + Target red card = $50+ cheaper). I'm in love and I haven't even taken a single picture with it yet.

I also got a 32GB memory card from Amazon for $22, much cheaper than Best Buy ($35) and BJ's ($28). I paid more for a class 10 since my camera can record videos up to 1080p. I plan to buy a few smaller cards for my trip (16 and maybe 2 8's). I also want an extra battery, so I'm price watching on Amazon.

Ona Bowery, $119. Scratches seem to be added to the
display bag,  because there are less scratches in personal reviews.

Earlier I was leaning towards this bag in leather but after a chat with Mom I'm getting the canvas. From my keyboard research stalking, it seems like the leather is very soft and scratches easily. Sounds like a nightmare for my OCD. Scratches  character, at least to me. I just wish the strap was leather instead of seatbelt fabric.

 Bathing Suit I'm shvitzing over. And another one I'm interested in.
Santorini by La Blanca
Ibiza by La Blanca

I also need a new rain jacket, with a bigger hood because my current one can't handle my big
curly hair. It can't even handle a low bun without making me look like a dinosaur LOL. I'm partial
to Patagonia (college nostalgia) and North Face so here are a few options:

1. Patagonia Women's
 Torrentshell Jacket $129
2. Patagonia Women's
Storm Jacket $269

3. TNF Mesmeric $149
Cute shape!
4. TNF RDT Rain Jacket $149

My green patagonia has been fun, but I'm going for a less LOUD color this time around. I'll probably make a trip to REI (I'm a member) to check them out but I'm leaning towards the first and third. The second one seems like a fall, early winter jacket which I definitely don't need. The fourth is also a contender, the zipper placard is very shiny/distracting.
And this fun hat. Hopefully I won't put it down to check my phone and then leave it home like I did for my trip to PR. I didn't even realize I forgot it until I got to the beach later that day LOL.

Fortunately, I don't need much. I did a lot of shopping last summer, so I don't need any more shorts, skirts and tops.

All items were or will be purchased by myself. Or good ol' Mom LOL.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Quick Thought

I've been natural most of my life (only relaxed between 16-19) but I spent many of the years before my relaxer coveting relaxed hair. I loved everything about the mythical relaxed head of hair. No more frizzy halo of hair after gym class. No more long detangling sessions between my mom's legs cringing at every tangle.

I enjoyed my relaxed hair until it began to thin. Three years later I realized relaxed hair (for my head), wasn't all that I'd made it out to be. My hair was thin. I had three spots on my hairline that were thinning and I had to strategically style my hair. Hmm this part is too close my center thin spot, but it's also reall close to the thin spot on the right. 

Now almost 3.5 years post relaxer, I feel natural. At peace. Slicked down hair feels strange on me. I don't recognize myself with straight hair. It makes me feel weird, like a child looking at pictures of their mother before they were born.

*Sidenote: I'm not a fan of the natural nazi movement lol. I've seen many gorgeous relaxed heads on the forum, relaxed hair just isn't feasible for me. HHJ!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Leave-in/Gel Olympics!

I am always on the hunt for a good leave-in. Always.

For the last few days I've picked up a few products that I've always wanted to try. So with the next two days off and a little extra $$, what better time to let the PJ have a little fun?

First up: Curls Hair Gel Curls Creme Brulée. I have to take the L on this one. In my excitement at this being on sale at Target (run don't walk, they have for for $6 and change if you like this line) + my redcard %5, I bought this without smelling it. A definite no for my sensitive nose and migraine prone self. This was disqualified.

Second: My current favorite combo of them all, Kinky Curly Knot Today and Kinky Curly Curling Custard. I applied the KCKT in sections, smoothed the KCCC on and the separated the clumps. Perfection. My hair was defined albeit a little dull (IMO, but my friend disagreed) due to my heavy-handedness. Everyone talks about the steep learning curve for KCKT and KCCC, but I don't see it. I got rid of the dullness by scrunching in a little Jojoba Oil. This gave me FIVE DAY hair, which is the longest I've ever gotten out of a style.

Third: Shea Moisture Curling Gel SoufflĂ©. A swing and a miss. I've been looking at these products for ages, since they work well for Gabrielle, my goddaughter. The smell was overwhelming and smelled a little stale IMO. I still gave it a shot and it made my hair stringy with very little clumpage. Similar to how my hair looks with Olive Oil, a HAM.

Fourth: Eco Styler Argan Oil. Gives me similar results to KCCC. I am not saying that this is a dupe, but so far I'm liking the hold and clumpage that I've gotten from it. I also LOVE the price. At $5 for 32 oz this is the second cheapest item in my stash.

Fifth: Taliah Waajid The Great Detangler. This is marketed as a detangler and leave-in. My cousin Karen uses this to detangle her kids hair and it works well for them. For my purposes as a leave-in it was meh. The smell was nice but it's no KCKT or TJ's Nourish and Spa Conditioner.

All of these items were purchased by me. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Quick Regimen Update

Right now my current reggie is modified to my work week. My washday is always Wednesday night right after work. The only shampoo I use is Trader Joes Nourish and Shine. I try to avoid harsh sulfates when I can. I also set my style for the week on Wednesday or sometimes Thursday, even Friday and allow it to air dry in 12 braids. For my leave-in I rotate between Tresemme Flawless Curls conditioner, Kinky Curly Knot Today (if I have somewhere important to go) and TJ's Nourish and Shine.

Air drying in 6 lazy braids LOL
Once my hair is dry I unbraid it and wear it down for Sat. and Sun. Then bun until Wed. I love buns and I don't like my ends rubbing up on my clothes especially in the winter.

Regular bun
I henna my hair every six-eight weeks. If it's a henna week I'll do it on Monday night and then DC until Tuesday morning. Then I'll wear my hair in a bun until washday.

Sneaking pics at work w/ my DC bun

All of these products were purchased by me :) and TJ's is only available in the store.

Monday, September 23, 2013

3 things this PJ can't toss

One of the important things about being natural having hair on your head, is testing out products. Hopefully after all of your testing you'll end with a few products you like and maybe even a holy grail (HG) item or two. But you'll also end up with a few products that you didn't like/can't return/don't have anyone to give to/don't need, but can't part with. Thankfully my list is short but mine are:

1. Flexi-Rods. I'll be honest. At this point in time curling my hair with flexirods is on my "Ain't nobody got time for that" list. Plus my roots like to do their own thing. Sometimes they fall in line. Other times, I'm walking around with wet roots and a dry faux W&G. I also think they're too large for any style I'd want to achieve, but they still rest in my bottom drawer approx 2-3 years after purchase. Oops.

2. Jane Carter Nourish & Shine. Possibly the first product I bought post BC. Unfortunately the jar still has about 3.9 of its original 4.0 oz. It's too finicky for my taste. It doesn't like to be used with any of my leave-ins. Defiance or absurd optimism is rewarded with dull, grayish hair. Butters make my hair fall into limp stringy curls. I can only use them to slick down a bun/ponytail when I don't plan to wear my hair out again. Sometimes I can get away with using a little JCNS if I wet my hair first, but I don't always have time for that.

3. Bed Head TIGI Foxy Curls. No on all levels. Another rookie mistake. To keep it 100% honest, I can't remember why I don't like this product. But, I do remember not liking the stiffness that it gave my hair. I typically used it for braidouts, and it did me no favors. I'm about to empty the bottle when I get up and use it for my homemade TJ Nourish & Spa leave-in.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Product Rave: On Hair Pins & Bobby Pins

For years, I've used the Diane/regla pins that can be found at literally any BSS. I've always hated these pins because by the end of the day they're always missing the paint (blech!) and tips. Totally ridiculous, but I guess you get what you pay for. SMH.

Anyway, I started my HHJ with a trip to Sally's (with its off the chain employees) to create my stash. As I was heading to the register, my eyes glanced upon the Sta-Rite hair pins below.

My first thought was $2.29 for some hair pins!? Why would I buy those when my current hair pins are so much cheaper? But then I saw the game changer on these pins. They have a little clear ball at the tip. So I gave them a shot and here I am a year later raving about them. They're worth every penny. The tips never come off. The paint doesn't chip. And they've made me a girl who doesn't lose her hairpins and instead puts then in a jar after every use.

The above made me a believer and I shelled out the $8 for these Bobby Pins.

A year later and I still have my jar which is about 75% full. Yay me!

All of these items were purchased by me.