Thursday, September 17, 2015

Q&A | Picking Your Brain Responses

[Q]JESS ASKS: "How do you try to prevent thinning edges when you have your marley twists/ protective styles in?"

The number one thing is to avoid doing the twists too tight so as to avoid placing too much tension on the hair. I started off following this letter but I soon found myself doing the sections at my edges smaller (which made them tighter) in order to reduce frizz and keep them looking neater, longer).

[Q]Alyssa asks: "My hair is relaxed but I haven't gotten a perm since maybe 2 months ago, but I'm wondering if this means that've just stretched my relaxer long or if I'm transitioning, but will I damage my hair by getting a perm, if I haven't had one in so long?"

8 weeks is a pretty normal relaxer stretch (and is recommended for hair health because hair only grows on average half an inch a month... so you want at least an inch of new growth before your next touch up to prevent relaxer overlap); it isn't really considered a "long" stretching.

You'd be transitioning only if you made the active decision to transition to natural hair.

Extending the time between your relaxer doesn't automatically equal damaging your hair, the key is to take care of your hair while you stretch your relaxer. The longer you stretch your relaxer, the more susceptible your hair will become to breakage if you aren't keeping the line of demarcation - the area where your natural new growth and relaxed hair meet - by keep it moisturized. Moisture is key because it helps hair retain elasticity, which allows hair to stretch while being manipulated without breaking.

[Q]Taylor asks: "Hi Jen. When you cowash or use cleansing conditioners (like the Carol's Daughter cleansing conditioner) do you apply it and rinse it out just once, or do you do it twice?"

Hi Taylor, once usually gets the job done, but if I have thicker oil in my hair (like castor oil) I'll do it twice to make sure I get the oil out.

[Q]Ty asks: "Hi Jen! I've missed your post. So happy that you're back to blogging regularly. My question isn't hair related. I was wondering if you exercise regularly and if you do, would you consider doing posts of that nature? About diet and exercise?"

Hi Ty, yes I do exercise regularly. Sure I can do workout posts, but what structure would y'all be interested in seeing? Weekly recaps? What monthly fitness challenges I'm doing + updates?

[Q]A reader asks: Do you believe in scab hair, and if so, did you experience it during your transition?"

I don't believe in scab hair and no I didn't experience it. does a great job at summing up what scab hair is. gives the most common description of scab hair: 'Scab hair is the natural hair, (new growth) which is damaged from previous use of chemical relaxers or other scalp damage. Based on the changes to our scalp and hair follicles from the regular use of relaxer chemicals, the hair that grows post relaxers is malformed or damaged so it grows out wiry and dry. It can take a while for hair that is not damaged to grow from the scalp after years of relaxing or other scalp damage.'
When discussing the truth about scab hair with Dr. Linda Amerson, a doctor of trichology and expert on hair and scalp disorders, she candidly states, “There is no such thing.” 
It is not that chemical treatments, primarily relaxers and texturizers, cause scab hair as much as it is improper or frequent use of those chemical treatments can damage the scalp in a manner that results in an altering of the hair texture. The bottom line is that a damaged scalp can change your hair texture, regardless of the means. [Source]
My scalp wasn't damaged when I transitioned so I did not experience scab hair.

[Q]Sade asks: Hi Jen......good luck in ur exams. I have recently come across shea butter, can it be used on relaxed hair as a moisturizer and if so, do you seal with a oil?"

Hi Sade, shea butter is not a moisturizer because it lacks water, but it can be used to seal a moisturizer.

[Q]Nicole asks: Hi Jen! When you were texlaxed how did you deal with split/frayed ends? I just got my hair pressed and I slept and the scarf came off and my ends look a bit frayed, which is frustrating because I got my split ends cut yesterday.

Hi Nicole, I trimmed my split or frayed ends. I wish there was a magic potion but the only way to get rid of splits is to remove them. To prevent split ends I kept my ends moisturized, sealed with grapeseed oil, and kept them away from my clothes/tucked under a silk scarf when sleeping. Sleeping on a satin or silk pillow case is a great backup in case your scarf comes off, mine have saved me many a time.

[Q]Bernetta asks: Hi I am trying to grow my daughters hair. It was grazing WL but broke off to MBL because it stays dry. I did a hit oil treatment. I hate using rubber bands for styles for school, but I do. Please help me and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Hi there, just a few suggestions: Silk wrapped scrunchies rather than rubber bands. Deep condition with a moisturizing deep conditioner + moisturizing and sealing her hair during the week to combat dryness.

[Q]Will you ever post more about your life? I noticed you mentioned "your guy"

I've kept my life off this blog to 1) keep the content hair focused and 2) I didn't really think you all would be interested. Should I post more about my life here????

[Q]Do we get to hear more about your guy? You never share your life :/ were interested!

Well I guess that's one vote to share more about my life lol. Yes I'll share more about him. He's already wondering what the JGAers will think of him lol... and I have a feeling I just got side-eyed for disclosing that :P

Thank you for your questions! 

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wash Day | Hey Straight Hair

I finally scratched my straight hair itch! To prep my hair for heat, I deep conditioned with Hairveda Sitrinillah Deep Conditioner. This month's 30 day challenge is all about hot oil treatment, so I squeezed one by applying castor oil + peppermint (these ones here) to my scalp. To help the conditioner penetrate into my hair more effectively and give my hair an extra boost of moisture I sat under my Secura steamer (full product review is posted here) for 15 minutes.

Quick side note on my steamer: I've been using it since 2012 and it's been a great little steamer but it's on it's last leg. I've lost the stopper, cracked the lid when it took a fall out my clumsy hands, the ozone function has stopped working and I have no clue why, and I'm tired of stacking huge casebooks under it to get it to the right height. I think I'll be retiring it soon and switching to a standing steamer.

Anywhooooo, I let my hair cool down from the steam session then hopped in the shower and shampooed one section with Paul Mitchell Mirrorsmooth Shampoo. I used this shampoo the last time I flat ironed my hair and it worked well then. It creates a ton of lather and the first time left my hair clean, smooth, but not stripped... not so much this time. Lather was still abundant, but my hair felt stripped and clumped together horribly after. I didn't have a hope or prayer trying to finger detangle under the shower head. I ditched it asap and reached for Bobeam's ACV & Clay shampoo bar. Lots of lather, clean hair and scalp, no stripped hair. #winning!

After shampooing, I applied Paul Mitchell Mirrorsmooth Conditioner and sent up a prayer that it reversed the effects of the shampoo. Thankfully it did. Once I'd rinsed out the conditioner I squeezed out all excess water from my hair with a towel and put my hair in 4 big braids and pinned them around my head to stretch my hair.

When my hair was 50% dry, I applied It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In and Paul Mitchell Mirrorsmooth High Gloss Primer to half of my hair. On the other half I used the It's a 10 Leave-In but went with Redken Smooth Down Heat Glide (discontinued but it was my staple heat protectant when relaxed). To dry my hair I used my handle-less dryer and working in 1 inch sections.

After blow drying a quadrant, I put my hair in a big twist to keep it stretched while working on the rest of my hair.While drying I held my hair taut and worked in smaller sections, which I think helped produce much sleeker, elongated results than when I blow dried my hair 2 weeks ago.
My hair after removing from post-blow dried twist
To flat iron my hair I also used 2 different flat irons. On the side with the Paul Mitchell leave-in I used the Paul Mitchell Express Ion Smooth+ flat iron. On the side with Redken heat protectant I used my Sedu Revolution 1 inch flat iron. Why split my head in half?? For a future product review/tool comparison post. Spoiler alert: The Paul Mitchell Leave-In + flat iron produced lighter, smoother hair at lower temperature setting.

When it came time to wrapping my hair, I was unprepared. I couldn't my mesh wraps, couldn't find the duckbill clips I use to hold my hair in place when wrapping. I ended up wrapping it "doobie style" around my head, something I haven't done in years (when my hair was relaxed I only cross-wrapped my hair because it required less manipulation = less breakage).
I felt like the girl from The Grudge

After wrapping my hair I chatted with my guy – who is apparently happy I'm growing my hair back out because he wants to see it in a long braid (like how I had it in this picture) – and then went to sleep. MY NIGHT SWEATS JUST WON'T LET ME BE GREAT because they ruined the sleekness my hair had going on, leaving me with fluffy roots when I woke up. I was so annoyed I didn't even do my official length check because my hair wasn't falling where it was the night before.

For a length check, I only have this picture I snapped in the morning. I'm breaking my mirror rule and posting a pic with spots (yes I'm that anal that it bothers me lol) but it's the only length pic I snapped. Thankfully I did measure my hair the night I straightened it. At it's longest it's 14 inches long and rests at the top of my bra strap (which is line 14 on my length check shirt). The bottom of my bra strap is at 16 inches.

To give my hair some body, I set my hair on a couple flexi rods for 2 hours.

After removing the rods I finger combed my hair into shape.

As much fun as it was to see my hair all stretched out... it was a workout doing it and I'm content to go back to embracing my shrinkage or hiding my hair in twists again when I feel like they won't put too much a strain on my edges. And I'm super excited at the prospect of claiming full bra strap length by the end of the year. *TWIRLS AND THROWS CONFETTI*

Now to switch gears and learn how to master these twist outs...

How was your wash day?

Monday, September 14, 2015

DIY Detangler | Version 3

Hope everyone had a great weekend! As I mentioned in my last wash day post, here's the DIY detangler I mixed up and applied under coconut oil. Alone it works great but adding the coconut oil on top really increased its effectiveness. Here's a collage of how I mixed it up.


[1] — I boiled the marshmallow root for 30 minutes to release the mucilage (which is what provides "slip") contained in the root. Then using a strainer I separated the root from the liquid/mucilage, pressing down on the roots with the back of a spoon to extract as much as possible.
[2] — I scooped the mucilage into the bottle and then poured the remaining liquid into the spray bottle
[3] — I added a table 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
[4] — Then a tablespoon of vegetable glyercine
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