Hair Collage!

Hair Collage!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Fake it 'til you make it!

In May of 2012, I BC'ed after 25 months of transitioning. 

Totally dry

Wet with conditioner

When I BC'ed I also had some heat damage from transitioning using braids and straight styles. So I had to cut a few extra inches to get rid of the straight pieces of hair. I wasn't pleased, but I didn't see any point in hanging onto damaged length.

Others might not think my hair was short, but it was VERY short to me. And natural for the first time in years. Double whammy!

After seeing the damage that flatironing had done to my strands I promised myself that I wouldn't flatiron my hair for an entire year (the trick to this was that I BC'ed in the summer, so I knew I would really have to wait 1.5 years).

While transitioning (when I was out of braids) I spent all of August 2011 in curly styles (thanks to my pink perm rods) and buns. After the month, my hair was noticeably thicker and stronger.

I made a promise to myself and then told my mom (aka my #1 fan and supporter) but even she was nervous/doubtful. Are you sure you can do an ENTIRE year without flatironing? That's how you wear your hair…

I was nervous, but I'd spoken the words so I was committed. And much to my surprise, I did it!
May '12
Literally a day Post BC

Bad Hair Day in PR Aug '12. At least the view is nice!
I also didn't realize my strap genie broke until later LOL!

May '13
Twist-out that didn't dry!

Ponytail! June '13
A go-to for bad hair days!
I wasn't always happy with my hair. There were a lot of times I had to 'grin and bear it' and pretend like my hair looked awesome. I wore a lot of headbands, buns and puffs. People made comments, but completing a 25 month transition made me realize something very important. It's perfectly okay if my hair doesn't look flawless or stunning every day. Some days it will and other days I'll put it in a bun and keep it moving. I love my hair but it doesn't define me.

Fortunately, it wasn't all bad! There were also many good days mixed in there too. Here's a favorite of mine, even though I had to crop out my Goddaughter.

Great braid-out! Sept '12
Jan '14
W&G/Rake with KCKT & KCCC

Friday, February 21, 2014

Single Strand Knot Emergency!

I was the first adult in my circle of family and friends to go natural and actually wear their hair in it's natural state. I wasn't always pleased with my hairstyles, but I after my BC I decided to wait a year before straightening. That would force me not to fall back on my reliable hairstyle and instead work with my hair.

Bad Hair Day, My Twist-Out
didn't dry completely.
LOL at my Barbie Arm!


As a result, my friends and family usually turn to me for their natural hair questions. I don't mind because I LOVE talking about hair. So I'm always available to give my thoughts on a gel, give praise after haircuts, talk about ACV etc. 

I'm accustomed to these calls/texts but I still had to stifle a laugh when my friend Nicole called me frantically one afternoon.

Nicole: Yanira! OMG. I was just playing in my hair and I found a bunch of little knots! What did I do wrong? Do you have knots? Ahhhhhh! 

Me: Umm yes Nicole, I have knots in my hair. Most naturals call them single strand knots or SKK's. I don't have too many but I seem to get them when I allow my hair to shrink and tangle without product.

Nicole: What should I do? I want to cut them all out right now! Do you cut yours?

Me: Well, I have a system for my cuts. More than one SKK on a strand and it gets cut. An SKK towards the end of my strand also gets cut. Any SKK's combining more than one strand also get cut. Any split end or break is also cut. 

Nicole: AHHHHH! My hair feels gross. I'm cutting them out now.

Me: Ehh, I'd leave them if they're not out of control. The Type-A OCD side of me was shocked at my laissez faire attitude. But a year post BC I see SKK's as an occupational hazard. Meh. 

Nicole is a cutting addict, so she cut all of them out that night. Haha! Do I think she was wrong? No, I can't say what's best for her hair. Would I cut out all of my SKK's today? Nope! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Smooth Skin Tips!

I'm not one to toot my own horn but toot toot, people are always stunned by how soft my skin is. I usually have to pry their hands off!

In order to maintain my smooth skin I rotate all of the above. I use the gloves to help scrub my skin and remove the dead layers. The towel helps me get my back because otherwise it wouldn't get much TLC. The pumice stone is for my feet and keeps them looking good.

I buy the gloves and towel from The Body Shop because they last forever! I would recommend waiting for sale because they frequently have a buy 2 get 1 free deal. They also can last through several trips in the washing machine.

I usually buy the pumice stone from Duane Reade for $2 or $3 which is great considering TBS version is $6 #Everydollarcounts!

I also really love the Dove Winter Care body wash and bar soap. It's extra moisturizing and helps when I'm too lazy to lotion my skin. I use this with Eucerin Intensive Repair lotion. I like this lotion because it has Alpha Hydroxy Acids to help with cell turnover.

All products were purchased by me and all opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Hair Hates Coconut Oil

Yes it's true. My hair hates coconut oil.

Which I suppose is only fitting since I hate eating anything with coconuts. Side-story: I bought some sugar cookies from the Whole Foods bakery last month and after 3 or 4 I felt nauseas and wanted to vomit. Turns out there were coconut strips inside! Blech!

Back on topic…coconut oil and my hair aren't friends. I can only assume it causes protein overload in my fine protein-sensitive strands. It makes my hair knot and feel rough, similar to my Aveda incident. Which is 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How I use Kinky Curly Knot Today and Kinky Curly Curling Custard

I LOVE Kinky Curly.

It gives my hair tons of moisture and slip once properly applied. For me, KCKT is not a detangler. I can't just slather it on (like I can with TJ's Nourish) and finger detangle. I only use KCKT as a leave-in on freshly washed, previously detangled hair. Otherwise, my hair will knot and tangle. 

Anyway, Inusu

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Inversion January '14: No results this month.

I've been a faithful inverter ever since I saw a thread about it on the hair boards in October. I never thought it would work, so I took some sloppy starting pictures in October that are useless. Imagine my surprise when I checked the same section again and saw 15 inches!


Currently, I've gained 3 inches from inverting every month since October. The section pictured above is now 17 inches. But I also have a few sections that are now showing 18 inches.

Gah, my thumb is on the 17!

So what went wrong for the month of January? I don't know. But I'm not too stressed about it since 3 inches in 3 months is amazing for this anemic slow grower.

Will I invert again this month? Yes. I'll probably invert every month that I remember to because it's very easy and requires just a few minutes of my time every day. If this can help get me to full waist length before I leave for my holiday that would be awesome! If not, ce la vie. After all it's only hair.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What Made Your Hair Thrive?

I saw this topic online so I figured I'd post my answer here.

PROTEIN made my hair thrive and grow longer than ever. My last relaxer was April 2, 2010. By that summer I was APL for the first time ever and I hit BSL for the first time ever in December/January of 2011. Immediately after I had the Aveda Disaster. Can't win 'em all!

Before the forums, my hair was a mushy, over-moisturized mess. I used a lot of random products without reading any ingredient labels. If it promised volume or shine, I was sold. My hair practices weren't great. I was impatient and rough with my hair. I assumed that breakage was shedding. I blow dried and then flat ironed my hair 2-3 times a week. I was insane.

My first encounter with protein was Aphogee 2-minute reconstructor. I started a regimen and began washing my hair every other week. One week moisturizing products, the other week a protein treatment. I rotated this until the bottle ran out.

Joico K-Pak Reconstructor product I tried. I didn't have a problem with the Aphogee. At this point my hair was thriving, but I had found a board member with my ideal hair so I started using the products that she used. I'm lucky that our hair had similar likes, because this could have caused a setback. I don't recommend blindly following someone else just because you like their hair. As a natural, I still use K-pak reconstructor and the entire line in between my henna treatments.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Another one bites the dust...

Today is day 23 of the GNC Vitamins and I'm done with them. I spoke about them earlier here.

The cheapo in me wanted to use them for the full 45 days (90 capsules, 2 a day) despite the revolting taste. However, these vitamins have the nerve to be NASTY and break my skin out!

I started noticing little teeny tiny cysts along the corners of my face over the weekend. I got huge painful cysts when I was taking biotin so I assumed that these tiny cysts had to be from something else. Backtracking, I assumed that it was from not removing all my powder on Friday (I rarely wear powder) Makes no sense since I use a make-up wipe, foaming cleanser and toner. 

Anyway, today I was at work and felt a tiny cyst in the back of my neck. Now I can't ignore that.

Moving forward, I'll be looking for vitamins that have a lower dosage of Biotin than this one does.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Extra Wide, Extra Long Curlformers vs. Generic EWEL Curlformers

Real on the top, generic on the bottom
Before buying two sets of real EWEL Curlformers, I bought two packs of the generic version via Ebay.  I'm always looking for a way to save, but in my opinion the real curlformers are worth the money. Maybe in a few months the generic curlformers will catch up (they'll study the CF's and make adjustments for new batches) to the real version, but for now the real ones come out on top.

The mesh on the real ones is much softer and easier to sleep on. The real ones also came without snags, vs the generics which had a few snags. But, you get what you pay for.

Real on the top, generic on the bottom

The real ones are also wider than the generics.

Real on the right, generic on the left
Both hooks are made of plastic, but the real one has a little texture to it. It also has a grip on the end of the handle. The generic hook is complete rubbish. Its hard plastic and has no grip on the end, despite the pattern. The generic hook is also very frustrating to use, it's slippery when used with product and takes forever to get through the curlformer.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

5 Quick Curlformer Tips

1. My CF set needs time to dry. Preferably 12+ hours with an hour under the dryer.

2. The soft hood dryer from Hair Flair (CF company) will not fit 48 Extra Wide, Extra Long (EWEL) Curlformers. So instead I do the back of my hair all at once. When I'm done, I place the dryer on the back CFs, tighten the drawstring and begin working on the front. It's still taking me 2 hrs to install so the back gets an hour under the dryer.
-2.5 they aren't kidding when they say use it on low heat. Otherwise your dryer will begin to blister. Don't ask how I know.

3. Wash your CF's! I haven't experienced this yet but I've seen a few ladies mention bacterial growth, or the CF ends falling off due to product buildup. This is just hearsay, but better to be safe than sorry.

4. More hooks = faster process. I plan to buy more when I have a Sally's coupon.

5.  Use something with hold to have a lasting CF set. When I used the Jane Carter my set was nice for a millisecond. Gel gave me a much better look.

Bonus: To speed up installation section and part your hair in advance. Right now I do:

  • 7 rows total in the front. My side part is on the left, so the left has four rows, with 2 CFs by my ear, 3 CFs on the next row and 4 CFs on the last two. The right side has one row of 2 CFs by my ear and the other two rows get 4 CFs. 23 total. 
  • The back gets split into 4 rows across. The nape gets 4 CFs across, row two gets 7, row three gets 8 and row 4 gets 6. 25 total.

To prep for all of those rows, the day of my CF set I braid my hair into the sections above. Then I shampoo and condition in the braids. Then as I'm doing my set I take one braid down at a time.

*As with anything posted here, this is just what works for me.

Friday, January 10, 2014

GNC's Women's Ultra Mega: Loathing and Gagging

I'm not a resolution person. But on the first of 2014 I might or might not have committed to taking a daily multivitamin.

Originally I was headed to Whole Foods, but my travels took me to GNC instead. I bought a bottle of the Women's Ultra Mega without reading the reviews, because it's a vitamin! What's the worst thing that could happen.

Well I could open the bottle and instantly loathe the stench emitting from the bottle that I'm supposed to take two daily vitamins from.

Or I could take the first vitamin and gag from the overwhelming taste of vanilla and sugar (which doesn't help the stench). What is this compulsion that companies/customers have where everything has to taste "yummy" and "amazing" (two descriptors taken from reviewers on

And to add insult to injury these vitamins have sucralose aka Splenda! What the heck! Why does a vitamin need Splenda?

Next time I'm heading to Whole Foods or maybe I'll go back to my non-pretentious Nature Made. Hmph.

ETA: They're a little more palatable when taken with orange juice, but they're still the nastiest vitamins I've ever taken.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014


Gah. I stopped at Trader Joe's to restock and there was not a single one left. Curse you PJ's!

Then I headed to Sally's to pick up Lottabody and another Curlformer hook. I was going to check the hook for burrs in the store, but I got distracted by a loud lady yapping on the phone.

So imagine my aggravation when I open the box and see the below!

The top one is a good hook,
the bottom is the one I bought tonight.


Curlformer Success....maybe?

Finally, a success!

Immediately after removal

Ecostyler Argan Oil is so far my favorite gel. Cheap and easily accessible. A win, win in my book especially for my currently BSL, dreaming of WL hair.

So it shouldn't be a surprise that my HG gel gave me a great CF set. I was willing to ignore the two that didn't set because the rest had body, shine and was soft yet defined. I wore the curls in a ponytail to work and was pleasantly surprised to see that the curls had fallen beautifully despite being in a ponytail for hours.

So why the maybe? Well, it didn't last overnight. BUT I think there may have been some user error on my part. As I do more CF sets, I learn more about what works for me and what doesn't. My hair will not dry with product after being in CF's for only 6 hours. 12 hours with an hour under the dryer is preferred.

I considered Pincurling like TheGabeFix on YT, but I was too lazy so I pineappled. I didn't like the results but my coworkers thought it looked great in a ponytail.


Long story short, I don't think my hair was completely dry when I took the set out. Five CF sets in less than 2 weeks has made me a little tired of the process so I'm going to clean my CF's and take a few days off. I still love them, but the process and upkeep has made me miss the simpler days. LOL. Plus I need time to search for Sabino Moisture Block and Paul Mitchell foaming pomade.

I also used the Matrix Leave-in and PM Skinny Serum.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Curlformer Fails

So I've been playing around with my set of Extra Wide, Extra Long Curlformers for almost 2 weeks now. I've had 3 major fails, 1 semi-fail and 1 semi success. Lets get the bad out of the way first.

For each set I used Matrix Biolage Leave-in and Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum.

1. Curlformers on Blowdried hair.

Unfortunately I have no pictures of this one so you'll have to take my word for it. But trust me, there was not a curl in sight, not even a wave. How my hair went in, is how it came out. LOL. I decided to get experimental on Christmas Day so instead of bouncy curls I had a bun. Ce la vie.

2. Curlformers + Jane Carter Wrap & Roll  Foam.

As soon as I took the Curlformers out
Later that night when I got back home!

This was great when I first took the CF's out. Two CF's didn't dry, but I was willing to tuck them under and KIM. What I couldn't ignore was that when I came home from work my hair had lost its oomph. It was no longer shiny, bouncy and defined. Boo.

3. Curlformers + Kiss My Face Upper Management Gel.

Errr, this just ran across my mind. It gave a nice soft hold, but was a little flaky. I'll revisit this with pictures later.

4. Curlformers + Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Gel. Horror of horrors.

I was originally going to do this set with Ecostyler Argan Oil Gel, but I saw this tucked in my stash and decided to give it a shot. I DC'd before this set with Matrix Conditioning Balm and thought I rinsed all the DC out. As I smoothed the GF gel through my hair I saw a few white spots, picked out what I could and KIM. I figured the rest would dissolve and wouldn't be obvious in the morning.

After an hour sans CF's, 10 minutes before leaving I decided to separate my curls. When I looked in the mirror I was horrified. Hard little white flakes had formed throughout my head. A little picking, scratching and frantic shaking wouldn't get them off as each one was attached to a strand. Washing was not a option due to limited time and 18 degree weather. So I held my head high, went to work and spent the day reclined so that I was never in direct light. HAM.