Friday, October 31, 2014

30 Days without Heat Challenge: Check-In

Sometime after October 1st, I blinked and when I opened my eyes my calendar read "October 31st." This month our challenge focused on avoiding direct heat. Excessive/frequent use of direct heat (e.g. from flat irons, hot combs, curling irons, blow dryers) causes split ends, breakage, and dry hair.


Using cold air when blow drying. 
Using cold air has basically become a way of life for me. Even though it takes longer, by using cold air I'm able to stretch my hair without subjecting it to the drying effects of warm or hot air.

Air drying 
This goal should've been coupled with using cold air when blow drying because I never blow drying until completely dry. When it's about 80% I finish up my air drying overnight. I used to solely air dry but I have way too much new growth for that now.

Roller sets 
This was a lofty goal. I wanted to redeem my roller set fail last month and hopefully fall back in love with roller setting my hair but the energy and time to attempt to roller set my hair was non-existent.

Bantu knots 
Another lofty goal. All my bantu knot attempts have been major fails. The only thing I makes me want to keep trying and hopefully end up with actual curls instead of the frizzy, sad looking, would-be curls are the BKO (bantu knot outs) of KLP of SavingOurStrands.

Banding method to stretch hair 
Hmm, just squint and pretend you don't see this one on the list.

Flexi rod, curl former, or perm rod set 
Mission accomplished. I did my first curl former set this month and loved it. I used curl former dupes that I purchased on eBay for $8 #winning. The pack contained 40 curl former dupes, which I thought would be enough, but I underestimated how big my head really is. I was able to find the same dupes on Amazon for $13 (this one's here), so I picked up a second pack of 40 for my next curl former set.

After setting my hair, I went to bed and woke up with smooth, bouncy, heat-free curls. The best part of this curl former set was how well my new growth was stretched and blended with my relaxed ends.

For most of the month I LIVED in buns done on hair stretched using the tension method (with cold air).

Stop by Relaxed Thairapy and Grow It Girl to check out Jay and Tiki's challenge check-ins!

Jay's Creta Girl completely fooled me and had I not read the captions on your Instagram posts I would not have realized she was wearing a wig. Love it!!

Tiki of Grow It Girl rocked an amazing braid out!

Now it's YOUR turn! Share your check-in below!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Q&A | Picking Your Brain Responses

[Q]Suzelle asks: "Hello Jen! What collage app do you use to put together your healthy hair guides? They are sooooo neat :) Thanks"

Hi Suzelle, thank you! ♥ I use Pixelmator to create my graphics.

[Q]Georgina asks: "hey im some type of biracial and im trying to determine how long would I b able to keep in a protective style, like box braids,without damaging it...u can look me up on pintrest georgina shaddel for pictures! thanks"

Hi Georgina, being biracial how no bearing on how long you're able to keep in a protective style... that depends on preference and what's best for your hair. Some ladies are able to wear protective styles like box braids for 4 weeks without issue, while some may keep them in for 2 months.

To prevent damaging your hair while in braids, you must still care for your hair. Here are a couple examples of how:
  • Strengthen your hair. Do a protein treatment before installing the braids.
  • Keep your scalp clean. Use witch hazel (apply to cotton ball) to remove oil and build up from scalp. Or, dilute shampoo with water in a color applicator bottle.
  • Keep hair moisturized. Dilute conditioner to make it easier to apply and rinse from the braids.

[Q]Jo asks: "On ur recent PYB u said u don't oil ur scalp except 4 a hot oil treatment. Do you workout? how often and how do you protect your hair? or do you feel like it is not necessary since ur transitioning. I'm relaxed btw. "

Hi Jo, thank you! That's correct: no oil on my scalp except for hot oil treatments. I do workout, 4 days a week. I put my hair in a high bun or ponytail when I work out.

Ebele asks: "Hi Jen. Love your blog. How do you get your hair into the curl formers. I guess what im asking for is a tutorial on how to use the curlformers. Thanks"

Hi Ebele, I followed Naptural85's video as my guide when getting my hair into the curlformers. The only change is that I couldn't get the pump motion she uses to work right for me so I just make sure my sections are small enough to slid into the curlformer easily. Here's the video:

[Q]LizzieJ asks: "Hi Jen!  After seeing constant breakage, I decided decided to get a sew-in to give my hair a break. Do you have any tips on taking care of your hair while its braided under extensions?"

Hi Lizzie, I don't wear sew-ins so I don't have any tips from experience but Ebony of Longing4Length was many a great post on caring for hair when using weaves and wigs. Check her out!

[Q]Briggy asks: "Your hair is long. Are you mixed?"


[Q]Latoya asks: "Hey Jen looovveee your blog I stalk it on a regular basis lol anyways my question is this do you use a combination of oils to seal your hair or do you just use one set oil. I'm new on this hair journey thing and just wanted to know thanks in advance!"

Hi Latoya, thank you!! ♥ I don't combine, just pure grapeseed oil on its own.

[Q]Abi asks: "Hi, I have always wondered, what nationality are you? like your 'roots' lool. I ask because, I just feel like my hair can NEVER grow as long as yours, ever!"

I am Haitian, but that has no bearing on the length of my hair.

Healthy hair practices are what matter. Before I starting caring for my hair and learned what worked for me, my hair hovered between neck and shoulder length, suffered from breakage and dryness, so thin I never wore ponytails and buns, and was generally unhealthy.

Unless stunted by medical conditions/medication, hair is always growing. It's retention that the issue. If hair breaks at the same rate or faster than it grows, it will appear as though the hair isn't growing.

Finding a regimen that works you (which may include moisture, protein, protective styling, low manipulation, etc.) = retention = length.

[Q]Bianca asks: "Does braids and sew in weave helps retain length, and also help hair to grow, or does it only help to retain length only ?"

They help with retention (they have no effect on growth), so long as you still care for your hair while its in braids or sew-in. Installing braids or sew-ins and then ignored the hair underneath for however long the style is in is a recipe for dissector (breakage, dry hair).

[Q]Ashley asks: "Why does my hair grow uneven. The left side of my hair is like 3 inches longer than the right side of my heads. What are some reasons why that this happens?"

Hi Ashley, the "why" varies from person to person. Some people do have an area of hair that grows slower than other areas (my edges grow the slowest). For others the unevenness is due to how they manipulate their hair. For example, if you wrap your hair in one direction every night, the side you wrap it in will be shorter. That happened to me until I switched to alternating the direction each night when I used to "doobie wrap" my hair (aka basically combing or brushing it around my head).

[Q]SouthernVABelle asks: "Not to be all up in your "kool aid" (lol remember that?) But do you still date that guy who called you Simba? And wasn't he just starting his locks? If so how is the progression of his hair?....(if none of this is true I was never bad bye)."

We're no longer together. He started them in 2012.  No clue how they're progressing, but well I hope.

Thank you for your questions! 

Have a PYB question? Submit it here: PYB submission form.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wash Day: "Greatest Hits"

*Shuffles feet* This week's wash day recap is a bit different because I don't have a new update to share with you all *hangs head in shame* School and work have left me far too tired to even want to wash my hair and I've learned (the hard way) that I'm better off doing nothing to my hair when I don't have the patience to do it right. BUT, I've put together a "great hits" recap of successful wash days... with 177 wash day posts it took a little time to rifle through each category, but I hope you find the steps listed from these particular wash days helpful!


October 20, 2012
[1] Pre-poo: Hair Trigger on my scalp and Creme of Nature Argan Oil Intensive Conditioning Treatment on my hair under my heating cap for 1 hour.
[2] Shampooed with Mizani Supreme Oil Sulfate Free Moisturizing Shampoo.
[3] Applied Paul Mitchell Super Daily Skinny Treatment for 5 minutes then rinsed.
[4] Used a t-shirt to soak up all the excess water.
[5] Deep conditioned with KeraPRO Restorative Treatment under my streamer for 30 minutes.
[6] Applied leave in conditioner (Darcy's Botanicals Daily Leave In), then serum (Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum), and detangled with my HS5580 seamless comb.
[7] Roller set my hair on 1 3/4 inch and 2 inch rollers then sat under the dryer for a grueling 2.5 hours.

Full recap for this wash day is posted here.


April 14, 2012

[1] Pre-pooed for 2 hours with mix of safflower, grapeseed, and vitamin E oil.
[2] Shampooed with Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Shampoo.
[3] Applied Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Treatment for 5 minutes, then rinsed.
[4] Roux Porosity Control for 1 minute.
[5] Deep conditioned for 2 hours under my heating cap with KeraPRO Restorative Conditioner.
[6] Mixed 1.5 teaspoons of ACV and 12 oz of water and sprayed my hair from root to tip, left in for a minute or 2, then rinsed with cool water.
[7] Applied my leave ins: Darcy's Botanicals Daily Leave-In Conditioner, ApHogee Keratin and Green Tea, and Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum. My spray bottle contained mix of filtered water and Paul Mitchell Moisture Mist.

Full recap for this wash day is posted here.


May 7, 2014
[1] Pre-poo: My DIY marshmallow root detangler. I sprayed my hair and used my fingers to work the liquid into my hair and finger comb to remove any tangles and shed hairs. After completing a section, I applied coconut oil to my hair (from root to tip) and covered my hair with plastic cap and my Hot Heat conditioning cap for 45 minutes.
[2] Co-washed: with Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Cleansing Conditioner.
[3] Deep conditioned: with Silk Dream Vanilla Silk Cream Moisture Dream for an hour under my conditioning cap.
[4] ACV: After rinsing VSCMD from my hair, I sprayed my hair and scalp with apple cider vinegar + water mix. 
[5] T-shirt dry + leave-ins: After t-shirt drying for 30 minutes, I applied my leaves in (Kurlee Belle Thirsty Kurls Leave-In + Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum). 
[6] Detangle + dry: After applying leave-ins to a section, I detangled my hair (started from the ends) and then held my hair taut with my hair to blow dry it with cold air using the "tension method." Once my hair was detangled (but still damp in some parts), I applied a little Eco Styler Gel to my edges and finished air drying over night.

Full recap for this wash day is posted here.


March 25, 2014
[1] Pre-poo:  Jason's Vitamin E Oil first. Check out this post for the full list of ingredients. After warming the oil in a bowl of hot water, I applied it to my hair and covered my hair with a plastic cap and then my Hot Head conditioning cap.
[2] Co-wash: As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner.
[3] Deep condition: with HairVeda Sitrinillah Deep Conditioner under my heating cap.
[4] Leave-ins, detangled, & blow dried: After t-shirt drying for 30 minutes I applied my leave-ins, Kurlee Belle Thirsty Kurls Leave-Ins Conditioner + Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum, and then detangled and stretched my new growth by blow drying with cold air while using the tension method.
[5] Once my hair was dry, I applied Eco Styler Gel to my edges and gently brushed my edges with a wet, soft bristle brush before tying my edges down with a scarf and bunning my hair for bed. The next morning I applied a bit of Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum to my ends and did a big, soft bun.

Full recap for this wash day is posted here.


July 5, 2013
[1] Pre-pooed with hemp oil for 1 hour.
[2] Shampoed with Organix Repairing Awapuhi Ginger Shampoo, diluting the shampoo a bit with water in an applicator bottle to make it easier to get the product to my scalp and decrease manipulation, decreasing tangles in the process.
[3] I tea rinsed with a mix of green tea and peppermint tea
[4] After tea rinsing, I applied Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Daily Treatment for a few minutes, then rinsed.
[5] Deep conditioned with Silk Dreams Vanilla Silk Cream Moisture Dream under my steamer for 20 minutes.
[6] I t-shirt dried for about 30 minutes and then sprayed my hair with CHI Keratin Mist and let it dry for about another 10-15 minutes.
[7] Once my hair was about 80% dry, I applied leave in conditioner, Darcy's Botanicals Daily Leave-In and a little hemp oil on top to seal in the leave-in conditioner.
[8] After detangling my hair, I tied it down with a silk scarf and left it alone to air dry.

Full recap for this wash day is posted here.


January 19, 2014
[1] Pre-poo: hot oil treatment with HairVeda Vatika Frosting for 30 minutes.
[2] Shampoo: Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo in 6 sections.
[3] Tea rinse: black tea and rooibos tea.
[4] Smoothing conditioner: Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Daily Treatment for 5 minutes.
[5] Deep condition: HairVeda Sitrinillah Deep Conditioner for an hour with my steamer.
[6] T-shirt dried for 30 minutes.
[7] Applied leave-ins: Komaza Cara Matani Leave-In Conditioner and Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum.
[8] Detangled and blow dried using the tension method and cold air. Once my hair was fully detangled I threw it up into a loose bun and covered with a silk scarf to help smooth my hair out.

Full recap for this wash day is posted here.


March 4, 2014
[1] Pre-poo: Creme of Nature Intensive Conditioning Treatment.
[2] Shampooed with Creme of Nature Moisture & Shine Shampoo.
[3] After shampooing, I tea rinsed with marshmallow root.
[4] Then I deep conditioned overnight with Kurlee Belle Banana Nut & Avocado Deep Treatment.
[5] After t-shirt drying for 20 minutes, I applied Komaza Care Matani Leave-In Conditioner and Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum and detangled. After detangling each section I set my hair on flexi rods (23 purple & 5 gray rods) and blasted my roots with cold air from my blowdryer for about 30 minutes before letting it air dry overnight.

Full recap for this wash day is posted here.

How was your wash day? Don't forget to join our healthy haired tribe by sharing your wash day in the link up below!

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