Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reader Mail: Essentials for Great Flexi Rod Sets

Samshelli21 asks:
What do you think is the most important thing needed to get a great flex rod set?
Great question. I've only been doing flexi rod sets for a year and some change but I've noticed a couple things are essential (for me at least) for a great set.

[1]Start with damp or wet hair. Hair must be pretty damp/wet before setting it on the rods. Setting hair that is near drying will not produce well defined curls. Just as hair must be wet doing roller sets, I've learned that I get the best curls when my hair is wet (but I don't mean dripping wet) or very damp before I set it on rods. If my hair is too dry by the time I reach a section, I mist it with water or Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Moisture Mist before setting my hair.

[2] Tension is key. Just as hair must be taut when rolled onto a magnetic or mesh rollers, hairiest also be taut when setting it on flexi rods. Because of their "bendy-ness," it might take a while to get the hang of bending the rods into a position that keeps the hair as taut as possible while it dries but it's worth getting the hand off. Keeping the hair taut as it dries prevents puffy roots and frizz.

[3]Nix heavy or oily products. Use products that will not weigh your hair down. You want your curls to be as bouncy as possible so try to avoid products you know are on the heavier side. I try to avoid products I know will not sink into my hair as theses products will sit on the surface of my hair.

[4] Moisture-prep reigns supreme. I've found that prepping my hair during my wash day with products I know will provide lasting moisture helps prevent dry hair during the week, which in turn cuts down on how often I have to moisturize and seal during the week, which then helps me preserve my curls even longer because I am not manipulating them when moisturizing and not weighing them down with product. With my most recent flexi rod set I think I found my perfect combo of products for super moisturized curls because I didn't moisturize once while wearing my curls (6 days span): I pre-pooed with L'Oreal Total Repair 5 Restoring Conditioner, co-washed with Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Cleansing Conditioner, deep conditioned with Hairveda Sitrinillah Deep Conditioner, and for leave-in conditioner I used Kurlee Belle Thirsty Kurls Leave-In. I've also achieved long last moisturizing curls after deep conditioning with Kurlee Belle Banana Nut & Avocado Deep Treatment.

[5]Stretched roots via two strands twists make a world of difference. I couple sets ago I started twisted my roots by starting a two strand twist before setting my hair on the flexi rods. I picked this technique up from KinkyKurlyQueen (her video is posted here) and I'm so happy I did. Starting a two strand twist helps stretch and blend my 6+ inches worth of new growth with the curls for more uniform results. Starting a two strand twist also makes it easy to separate my curls with easy and without frizz.
• • • 
My most recent flexi rod set was definitely my softest, longest last set to date (lasting 6 days before I washed my hair) and I used the "essentials" posted above for this set. Even after finger-coming the heck outta my curls, they didn't want to kick the bucket.

P.S. Get 10% off your first Kurlee Belle order with discount code: JustGrowAlready10

Sunday, July 27, 2014

30 Days with Ceramides: Results!

I can't believe 30 days has already passed but I'm glad it has because I get to read and see your results! A little background for any newcomers: over the last 30 days, we have incorporated ceramides into our regimen in form or another. Some challenge participants may have chosen to seal, do hot oil treatment, or oil rinse with an oil that contain ceramides. Some challenge participants may have chose to use conditioners that contain ceramides.

Wondering what ceramides are and why you need them in your life?
The cuticle layer inevitably suffers damage over time through manipulation, shampooing, chemical relaxers, etc. Once the cuticle layer of the hair is damage, the hair becomes susceptible to breakage. Ceramides are lipid molecules that protect hair from moisture loss and protein degradation by keeping the cuticle layer closed, repair the cuticle layer of hair, help hair retain elasticity, strength, and luster.

What I've used the last 30 days and how often:
  • L'Oreal Total Repair 5 Restoring Conditioner (on this wash day, and this wash day) as a pre-poo treatment.
  • Grapeseed oil to seal in my moisturizers during the week.
  • Safflower oil for hot oil treatments (like on this wash day).

How my hair has improved:
The biggest improvement my hair has made is the number of splits that normally riddle my hair has decreased drastically, making me a very happy camper. You've no idea how much I loathe split ends so I'm just over the moon at how much my ends have improved over the last 30 days. My hair has also been consistently smooth, which has helped reduced inter-strand friction and tangles. I've really fallen in love with L'Oreal Total Repair 5 Restoring Conditioner as a pre-poo conditioner. It's really done a great job at softening, detangling, and smoothing my hair.

How has your hair improved from using ceramides? Share your results with us!

Challenge posts you may have missed:

Join Relaxed Thairapy and I for next month's challenge: 30 Days without Splits! Keep on eye out this week for the challenge post. I hope you'll join us!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wash Day (Curls & Steam, My New Best Friends)

[1] Pre-pooed with L'Oreal Total Repair 5 Restoring Conditioner (for the 30 Days with Ceramides challenge) under my steamer for 15 minutes. The steam helped the conditioner penetrate into my hair and as a result my hair felt so nice after rinsing it out: soft, so smooth, and detangled.

[2] Co-washed with Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Cleansing Conditioner.

[3] Coffee rinsed and left the coffee in my hair.

[4] After wrapping my hair in a towel for 20 minutes to soak excess liquid, I applied HairVeda Sitrinillah to my hair and sat under my steamer for 15 minutes. My Secura O3 Steamer (that's been collecting dust for months) finally saw some wash day action and it reminded me (yaknow, because steamers whisper every now and then) that I really need to use it more often. Just as it did while pre-pooing, my steamer helped the conditioner sink into my hair, boosting the conditioner's effectiveness. After rinsing out the conditioner my hair felt so so soft and fluffy. I tried to snap a picture to capture said softness in the photo on the right.
Left: my hair with conditioner after steaming
Right: my hair after rinsing out the conditioner

[5] Sprayed scalp and hair with apple cider vinegar + water mix.

[6] T-shirt dried for 30 minutes. After t-shirt drying, applied Kurlee Belle Thirsty Kurls Leave-In Conditioner (get 10% off your first Kurlee Belle order with discount code: JustGrowAlready10) and then mixed Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum + Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum in my palm and applied over the leave-in. Why mix serums? I planned to do a flexi rod set so I used PM's SSS to provide smooth hair + help detangle and Organix's serum to prevent breakage. [7] After applying my leave-ins to a section, I detangled and set my hair on the flexi rods. As I did with my last flexi rod set, I used the tip I picked up from KinkyKurlyQueen and started a two strand twist before setting my hair on the rod to help stretch 55 weeks worth of new growth.

Once all the rods were in, I tucked myself into bed for a long night of tossing and turning. The next morning though? Hello soft, heat-free curls! Oh, and starting a two strands twist before setting my hair on the rods also made it very easy to separate my curls without frizz.

This flexi rod set is definitely the softest set I've every achieved. As I write this post my curls are now 5 days old and I have not moisturized and sealed once, yet my hair is still soft and my curls are still bouncy! And zero breakage! *Twirls and throws confetti* On day 4 I had a couple strands that drooped further than the others so I cheated and used bobby pins to pull up those curls for a more even look to my curls.
Top left: day 1
Top right: day 1
Bottom left: day 2
Bottom right: day 4
Pineappling my hair at night has helped preserve my curls. For more on how I pineapple my hair and a picture tutorial, check out this post: Preserving My Flexi Rod Set by "Pineappling"
Day 1 pineappling
How was your recent wash day?

Join our healthy hair tribe and share your wash day with us below!

The Wash Day Experience Linkup RULES
  1. Follow your hosts SavingOurStrands and JustGrowAlready via Bloglovin', Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.
  2. Healthy Hair is the theme. Entries completely unrelated to the theme or linked to your homepage will be deleted.
  3. Share it! Your blog post must link back to this site so others see. We even made this nifty button below which links back to The Wash Day Experience page! Just copy and drop the code into your blog post.
  4. Encourage the wash day experience contributor that linked up directly before you with an inspiring comment. We are each here to support each other and build a community of determined women and hair-friends. Don’t worry, the chica who links up after you will do the same; comment love for everyone!

Kurlee Belle Giveaway [CLOSED]

I'm so excited to share this giveaway with you because these two gems are two faves of mine! The deep conditioner does a great job at job at detangling my hair, provided slip, and triggering all types of "hand-in-hair-syndrome" while I deep condition because it defines my new growth so well. The leave-in has become my go-to leave-in. It provides slip, sinks into my hair, and provides my hair so lots of (long-lasting) moisture.

Kurlee Belle is giving two of my fave products to one lucky JGA winner. The entry form will be open until July 30th and and one winner will be chosen at random on July 31h. Apologies to my international readers but this giveaway is open to USA residents only. Here are the prizes:

Description: Banana Nut & Avocado Deep Treatment is just what the doctor ordered for dry, damaged hair. Bring those tresses back to life with our smooth concoction of Banana, Avocado, Honey and Coconut. Banana is rich in potassium and hailed for its moisturizing properties. Avocado contains fatty acids that nourish, smooth and soften hair. Honey provides shine while conditioning to make hair soft and supple. Coconut hydrates, conditions and softens.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Stearic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Basil Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Honey Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance (Parfum).

My product review is posted here.

Description: Thirsty Kurls Leave-In Conditioner provides "lots of slip" and moisture that detangles and softens curls. Hibiscus penetrates the cuticle to maintain acid balance. Aloe Vera soothes and moisturizes dry, damaged hair. Honey hydrates and helps the hair retain moisture.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Simmondsia Chinsensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Hibiscus Rosa-Senensis Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Honey Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance (Parfum).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. Get 10% off your first Kurlee Belle order with discount code: JustGrowAlready10

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hair Story Feature: Meet Reisha

Your hair is?... Relaxed (this includes texlaxed)

When and why did you start your hair journey?
I began my research of healthy hair care in June of 2010. I came across UluvMegz on youtube and thought, "wow. I wonder how many other black women have beautiful, long hair out there." So, I began to google hair tips for relaxed hair and I came across Jen's blog! I was so intrigued by the information I was learning that I tried to incorporate some of things I learned there after. However, I didn't officially begin my hair journey until June of 2012 after graduating high school. I started in 2012 because I was able to buy whatever products I wanted without my mom complaining how it is all useless. I began my journey because I wanted healthy, long hair. I'm in love with long hair. I was also tired of going through beauticians and having bad hair experiences. I never had one beautician. I had maybe 6-7 because I hated doing my own hair. After 2011, I quit going to beauticians unless I needed a relaxer. In June of 2012 that ceased too.

What is your current regimen?
My regimen is pretty basic. I clarify my hair once a month with a Suave shampoo (or when I have extreme buildup). I was my hair every two weeks with a Herbal Essences shampoo & conditioner for long hair. Next, I apply the ORS deep condition on my hair and scalp and cover it with two shower caps for 45-50 mins. After I rinse the conditioner out, I turban-wrap my hair in a t-shirt for 30 mins. Lastly, I detangle my hair with a leave-in conditioner and Fantasia heat protectant. I bun my hair right after that. I self-relax every 10-12 weeks depending on the time of year. I do not relax during the summer. I only trim my ends when needed. So that depends. I moisturize my hair every other day or every two days. Moreover, I really want to start using an oil in my regimen. I just haven't found the right one yet.

Do you have any hair goals? Have you achieved them?
My current hair goals are reaching MBL, stopping breakage, keeping hair healthy and thick, and learning to maintain roots looking freshly relaxed when stretching relaxers. I must say I am doing my best keeping my hair healthy and thick by strictly following my regimen and not allowing others to do my hair for me.

How did you achieve them? How are you working to achieve them?
I plan to achieve MBL by adding an oil into my regimen and trying some no heat challenges. I rarely use heat now but challenges might be fun. Stopping breakage and stretching relaxers comes with research. I'm doing my best to find products to help me achieve these goals.

How has your hair journey impacted other parts of your life?
I wish I would have known how valuable protective hairstyles were. My ends could have been saved from the damage it may have had thanks to wearing it down so much. I also wish I had known about the benefits of healthy hair earlier. There's so many mishaps I could have avoided.

Have you had any setbacks? How did you bounce back?
I had a major setback in August of 2010 before I started my hair journey. I went to Kalahari (a waterpark) with some friends and got my hair wet. Not thinking twice about it, I didn't bother to wash the chlorine out of my hair. Three days later, I went to my beautician without detangling my hair or anything. I just put it in a ponytail and expected her to do it. She was pissed. I had accidentally created a huge knot in my hair and the only way to get it out would be to cut it out. So first, she told me to pull as much hair out of the knot as I could and whatever was left had to be cut. I cried so hard about it but I learned my lesson. From there on out, I would detangle my hair and wash my hair before and after I go swimming. Also wearing my hair in a bun could work. I bounced back by constantly wearing ponytails and not fooling with my hair. It all began to grow back. I'm thankful now.

What are your favorite protective styles?
My favorite protective style is BUNS: knot buns, curly buns, messy buns, donut/sock buns, big hair buns and high buns! I love buns lol. I've become so obsessed with them that my friends or people I've met have asked me how. Aside from buns though, I love using flexirods on my hair to create a curly afro look! I haven't learned to do spiral curls using flexirods yet but I hope I will this year!

What are some of your favorite products?
My favorite products are Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner for long hair, Fantasia heat protectant (its a lifesaver) and Silk Elements MegaSilk Leave-In Hair Moisturizing Creme. These products work wonders on my hair; keeping it managable, moisturized and nice smelling.

What do you love most about your hair?
I love how thick my hair is. I feel like it makes my hairstyles look fuller. For example, my hair buns!

How do you deal with people who doubt you? What motivates you to keep going?
I like to make dreamers into believers! Or nonbelievers into supporters. When I started my hair journey, I didn't tell anyone. People would just say: "you're doing too much," "black hair can't grow to your waist," "your hair is weave," "you're obsessed." Discouraging things like that. My mom was one. She just believed it was genetics that got my hair where it was at the moment. Now she asks me for advice. I guess what keeps me motivated is seeing so many beautiful, black women with waist length or MBL hair and it's healthy. I've fallen in love with relaxed and natural hair. I love trying new hairstyles and products, learning new tips and following other people's hair journeys. It amazes me. One day I hope to inspire someone with my story.

What advice would you give someone just starting out on their journey?
On my birthday in 2013, I went to go visit my great grandmother who was 92 years old. My hair was down and freshly relaxed as of 2 days prior. When I walked in and hugged her, she said "my God, is that your real hair baby?" I said "yes, of course." She said "wow. It's beautiful. Many young people these days don't have real, beautiful hair such as yours. Please never cut it. It reminds me of my mother's." That comment honestly made my life! I promised her I wouldn't and I won't!

Also, my 6 year old cousin calls me Rapunzel (Disney's Tangled version). I know my hair isn't that long but according to her, I am the black Rapunzel and when she gets older, she wants her hair to be as long as mine.

Where can we find you on the web? Twitter | Blog | Instagram: MyNameIsPeabo ♥

The part about your grandmother and little cousin makes me miss mine! #homesick Thank you for sharing your story with us!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wash Day

[1] Pre-pooed with L'Oreal Total Repair 5 Restoring Conditioner. I picked up this conditioner for the 30 Days with Ceramides challenge after realizing I had no conditioners that contained ceramides in my stash. I posted  my post on my first impression of this conditioner earlier this week and days later my hair is still just as smooth as Day 1.
Hair with L'Oreal Total Repair 5 Restoring Conditioner
[2] Co-washed with Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Cleansing Conditioner.
[3] Tea rinsed with marshmallow root tea + rooibos tea.
[4] Left the tea in my hair and wrapped my hair with a towel to soak up excess liquid.
[5] Deep conditioned with HairVeda Sitrinillah for an hour under my heat cap.
[6] Sprayed my scalp and hair with water + apple cider vinegar and then t-shirt dried for 40 minutes.
[7] After taking down the t-shirt, my hair felt so smooth and soft. Happy dances may or may not have happened. I applied my usually leave-ins (Kurlee Belle Thirsty Kurls Leave-In + Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum), detangled my hair, and then used the tension method to dry my hair (with cold air).
[8] After applying EcoStyler Gel to my edges, I finished air drying my hair in a bun (I rarely dry my hair completely with the blow dryer, I target my new growth to stretch it) overnight. The next morning I did a simply ponytail and called it a day.

This was a pretty no muss, no fuss wash day; my favorite kind! I am a big cheerleader for tackling tangles at every step to make wash days easy as possible. Pre-pooing with a conditioner that softened, smoothed, and helped detangle as I removed shed hairs + co-washing with a cleansing conditioner that provides loads of slip and doing so in sections  + deep conditioning with a conditioner that does a great job at moisturizing and softening my hair + and then finally using leave-ins that moisturize and provide slip = no tangles to tackle when it came time to detangle. At that point is was a matter of using my fingers to de-clump my hair and comb through for smoother results while blow drying.

If you haven't already started, pretty please be mindful of how you're handling your hair at each step. I promise it makes a world of difference!

How was your recent wash day?

Join our healthy hair tribe and share your wash day with us below!

The Wash Day Experience Linkup RULES
  1. Follow your hosts SavingOurStrands and JustGrowAlready via Bloglovin', Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.
  2. Healthy Hair is the theme. Entries completely unrelated to the theme or linked to your homepage will be deleted.
  3. Share it! Your blog post must link back to this site so others see. We even made this nifty button below which links back to The Wash Day Experience page! Just copy and drop the code into your blog post.
  4. Encourage the wash day experience contributor that linked up directly before you with an inspiring comment. We are each here to support each other and build a community of determined women and hair-friends. Don’t worry, the chica who links up after you will do the same; comment love for everyone!