Thursday, October 1, 2009

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Strings

These are a few of my favorite things!  
I'm starting a new series based on my current and all time favorite natural hair-care related things. 

Coming out of today's brown paper bag are my absolute basic necessities to keeping my hair happy and healthy:

Aloe Vera Gel/Jelly
I absolutely love, love, love aloe vera gel. I started using aloe vera gel about a month ago and I feel like my curls have been more moisturized and defined with slightly less shrinakge. I squeeze a glob into my hand (sometimes with a dab of glycerin) rub it through my hair and give a good shake to moisturize and give great definition. I also use it to refresh my hair for effortless day two hair.

Coconut Oil
I've been a long time lover of coconut oil.  Yes, I keep a spoon in the jar for easy access-- it's that good. It moisturizes, it seals, it leaves your hair smelling delicious and tropical. Get some.

My Satin Hair Bonnet
Yes, that's a picture of me ready for bed with my head covered. Please note the total lack of shame in my game. Protecting your hair is the most important step your can take to ensure its health. Aloe vera gel and coconut oil are major components in my nighttime hair regimen (details coming shortly) but my hair bonnet is the string that ties up that perfect package. It keeps my hair protected while I sleep and keeps it from getting dried out or tangled. Love it. 

There you go, the first installment of my Favorite Things: The Basics. 

Until next time, keep it happy and healthy.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm Back!

I've been up to all sorts of interesting things with my hair in the past few months, but I've been really, really bad about keeping up with this blog. I promise to do better :) .  Lately, I've started a new bedtime hair-care routine which I will be posting shortly.

'Til next time, keep it happy and healthy

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Bantu Knot and Variations

So, I've been coming up short when thinking about spicing things up stylistically. However, with some inspiration from Curly Nikki, I've decided to try setting my hair with bantu knots. Now, I've tried doing Curly Nikki's absolutely gorgeous signature 'do, the twist and curl, a few times now with less than satisfactory results. Usually, when I twist my hair, I'll leave it twisted for a few days, but the twist and curl seems to require twisting and curling on night 1 to untwist/uncurl on day 2. So, what always ends up happening is that my hair is still damp in the morning when I take my twists down, so my hair is a frizzy hot mess. This time around, I've made sure to get my hair done early enough today so that the twists/bantu knots should be dry enough tomorrow when I untwist them.

In other news, in the process of doing my hair this weekend I think I have decided my hair routine for the rest of the month of April. This is what I did this weekend:

Friday night, I prepared 200 grams of henna with about 2 cups of chilled, strongly brewed green tea, mixed well and covered. Saturday morning, I parted my hair in four sections (as always) and did a quick co-wash/detangle with a wide-tooth comb. I then jumped out of the shower, added about 1/3 cup of honey to my henna, mixed well, and applied the henna my hair. This was my third henna and I think I've got the technique down: I drape a cape over my shoulders like you would get at the salon (this really helps to protects my clothes and minimize mess) and use my gloved hands to plop and smooth the henna on and through my hair. I covered my hair with two shower caps and a towel and took a nap/watched TV for about four hours. I then rinsed the henna "paste" from my hair then rinsed my hair until the water ran mostly clear. Then I conditioned/detangled with some left over conditioners and rinsed twice. I then used a mixture of Pantene Pro-V Nourishing Moisture Replenishing Mask, coconut oil, DevaCurl One Conditioner, and Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner as a deep conditioner. I left this mixture on overnight and rinsed it out this morning. I wanted to make sure that all of the henna was out of my hair, so I did a quick co-wash with the AO Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner and rinsed thoroughly. 
After all of that, I shook my hair to remove excess moisture (I almost never use a towel on my hair) and applied Giovanni Direct Leave-in Conditioner section by section. I then twisted my hair in two strand twists using a mixture of shea butter and coconut oil to smooth down frizz and seal the ends.  I think the combination of conditioning from the henna and the deep conditioner really imparted a great healthy shine on my hair. This being my third henna, I think I've achieved enough color saturation/conditioning to actually be noticeable. I don't think I've ever seen my twists look so good. I took each twist and twisted it tightly around my finger and then around itself so that it would form a knot sort of like this. I sprayed my bantu knots with Deva Curl Set it Free and voila, the finished product:

Bantu knots from the front

From the front again, note the shine

From the top, I need to work on smoothing my roots into the twists 

And from the back: cute, tight bantu knots

Sunday, March 29, 2009

On Becoming a Henna Head

Since the last time I posted (and that was way too long ago) I have become a henna head. I've jumped on the henna bandwagon like so many other natural ladies. I decided to henna after seeing all the great conditioning, strength, and length results other naturals were getting and because I wanted to mix up my hair color a bit, but in a subtle and natural way. 

I initially bought my henna from I ordered  300 grams of the popular Jamilla brand and it arrived within days of my order, but it was not cheap.
One of my three boxes of Jamilla henna

Since I planned on doing my first henna that Friday night, I mixed my henna up the night before. I decided about 200 grams would be enough, and I poured that amount of henna into a container to do my mixing.

Henna must be mixed with an acidic liquid, I choose apple cider vinegar since I use it on my hair to clarify anyway. I think I probably added about 1/3 of a cup of vinegar and about 1/2 a cup of water and mixed really, really well.

After adding the vinegar, very thick consistency 

After adding the water, still quite thick

I left the mixture to sit over night for dye release, but then I didn't get around to applying it the next night, so I applied Saturday morning.

Henna on Saturday morning. Note the puddle of released dye in the corner.

Before applying the henna I added a large amount (about 1/4 of a cup) of my oil blend and mixed that really well. I jumped in the shower, got my hair soaking wet, pretreated with Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Treatment (waste of time and money, more on this later), rinsed, then jumped out of the shower an parted my hair. I did not detangle my hair before hennaing the first time, but I did the second time. Definitely detangle your hair before applying henna.

My hair in 4 parts

My hair (detangled) in four parts, the 2nd henna

I then put on some gloves, grabbed a handful of henna, started applying it to my hair one part at a time. The henna is quite heavy and stretches your hair out while it's on. No worries, your hair will return to normal when you rinse, though some people do say that henna loosens curl. 

My head completely covered in henna

After all the henna was on, I covered my head with two plastic shower caps and wrapped my head up in a large towel. I then lounged around my house like this for about 24 hours (this is not necessary, you only have to leave the henna on for about 4 hours to get the effects, I was just being lazy). The next morning, I rinsed out the henna thoroughly, conditioned my hair thoroughly, and twisted my hair.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I've been a bad, bad girl. . .

I've been careless with this delicate blog.

I've been up to all sorts of great/interesting things with my hair in the past few weeks, updates will be forthcoming.
'Till then, keep it happy and healthy,

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Twist Out Pictures!

About two weeks ago, I twisted my hair. Last Saturday night, I moisturized and untwisted my hair to reveal one of my best twist-outs to date. Here are some pictures taken on Monday and today:
from the back and one side

... and from the other  side

my wavy/curly/twisty twist-out

my hair tonight (I don't know why my head looks so flat)

a quick length check.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Natural Choice or Making Your Own

So, since I've really gotten serious about taking care of my hair, I've been toying with making my own haircare mixtures. My very first mix was a random concoction of whipped coconut oil, castor oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil which I used to moisturize my twists. I didn't really like the gritty consistency of the mixture, so the next time I melted the coconut oil and then added the oils. As the mixture began to solidify, I noticed that the consistency was approaching something like petroleum jelly, though the final consistency was harder and smoother. 
In addition to trying to make my own hair moisturizer, I've also found that I have been really disappointed by the ingredients in the body lotions on the shelves in my local stores. On my latest trip to Whole Foods, I saw a brand of un-petroleum jelly and after looking over the ingredients, I realized that I could probably make my own that I could use for hair or body. 
Here's what I mixed up when I got home from work:
  • 1 16 oz jar of coconut oil
  • 5 oz castor oil
  • 4 oz sweet almond oil
  • 4 oz apricot kernel oil
  • 4 oz jojoba oil
  • 2 oz aloe vera gel
  • 1 oz cocoa butter
  • 5 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 5 drops tea rose oil
I melted the solid ingredients, whisked all of the ingredients together, and poured them into a jar. I'm not sure how the consistency will turn out since I've just made up this recipe and I didn't add vegetable glycerin which was in the brand I saw in the store. Right now, the mixture has achieved the consistency of a loose petroleum jelly, I think it will probably continue to harden, I'll have to check on it tomorrow to see if I like the consistency.