Mini Chop: A Hair Horror Story

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Once upon a time, not so long ago there was a girl who stopped using chemical relaxers and allowed her hair to grow in the texture she was born with. For a while it was fun. Her hair natural curls grew long and full. Her hair was almost effortless.

Then one day the girl decided to color her hair and bleach it to get blond highlights like she saw in the magazines.  She did not deep condition her hair and eventually it broke off. She had to cut it. Then she decided to flat iron her hair…a lot. This loosened the beautiful curls that she had growing again. Then she decided to get a weave. This weakened her hair.

Eventually the girls hair grew sad and grew out frizzy. Part of the texture of her hair changed from a 3b/c curl pattern to a 3c/4a curl and became highly porous making it hard retain moisture. Parts of her hair didn’t curl at all anymore and parts grew very thin.

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My curls during the good times

 

It was a mess.

So the girl, heart broken, had to chop the damaged hair. She had to learn from her mistakes and start a new but what would she do differently?

Treatment

The girl in the story was me. Big surprise. Almost three months ago I decided to do a mini chop and cut about 3 or 4 inches off of my hair. Whoever said natural hair was easy lied. Sure there are some textures that are easier to grow long with little effort. But if you desire long hair and have a tighter curl pattern (3c – 4c) then you have to put in effort or else just go short.

So deep condition, steam, or hot oil treat weekly. Anything that focuses on super moisturizing works so I won’t pick a brand over another.

Make hair strong like bull.

One thing to keep your hair from weakening is to build protein strength. You can do this by minding what you eat but an added bonus is to use proteins in your hair. I would not do this weekly because too much of a good thing can be bad. Try anything from Carol’s Daughter or Shea Moisture. I also like the very affordable Dominican line Kenechom for deep conditioning which you can find on Amazon. Some mix it with Silicon mix but be careful with using silicones in your hair. They are great for making your hair shiny but you have to use a clarifying or sulfate shampoo to get them out.

I also advise you Nairobi hair conditioner. It has protein and helps define curls but use this sparingly. Don’t leave on overnight like you can with the above named conditioners. Proteins can dry the hair out.

I also use Aphogee protein treatment every 4-6 weeks

 

mini chop

The mini cut

Heat and Color

I won’t say don’t do this. You have to have some fun with your own hair. But be careful. Limit using a curling or flat iron. Personally, I’m trying to keep it at no more than 4 times a year for straightening my hair and for now I don’t plan to straighten my hair until September for a length check.

For color, avoid bleaching, the farther the color is from your natural color the more likely you might see damage. Try to keep the color you pick in the semi permanent, ammonia free line. ALWAYS deep condition weekly.

Get Your Curls Popping

After the cut the first thing I did was fully embrace the hair that I had to work with little to no manipulation. The curls around the perimeter of my head are a 4a texture which is new for me.  That hair is also more porous. Therefore I tried the Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse  and the Max Hydration Method to get those curls popping and more moisturized to match the rest of my hair.

Ya’ll this is work and although the results are nice, I just don’t have the time to do this treatment every day for a week. Luckily the wonderful natural beauty brand Shea Moisture made a line that incorporates the goal of this method. It has been a life saver for me. Most of my curls around the edges came to life. The few that did not, I simply flat twist (just one or two) to match the rest of my hair.  I also use clear gel or pomades to lay the edges.SBHighProrosityGroup1-300x199

Refresh your curls daily with a spray bottle of water and conditioner. I also like a clear gel which most natural hair lines have or Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercream.

Protective Styles

Low manipulation of hair is another way to get it healthy and growing. No worries about brutal cold or dry heat stiffening the curls or having hair rub on clothes and weakening it or over styling (especially with heat tools). So a popular alternative is wearing wigs.  Get a good lace front, synthetic or human hair, and let your curls relax a bit. Play with different colors, lengths and textures. It can be fun!

People also try sticking to braids or buns. Be careful with both. Use of synthetic hair with your own hair for braids can be heavy on the hair shaft and repeat ponytails for puns can weaken the hair around the ponytail holder.

That’s all for now folks. I’ll keep you updated on my journey and anything new I learn along the way. Have you learned anything about your hair after a big chop?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beauty methods that I’m loving right now

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NYX curve liner– For any girl that loves the winged eye liner look but struggles to master it this tool is a time saver. I get the perfect wing every time with this one.

eyeliner

L.O.C.- I’ve discussed this before but must say it again. No matter your hair curl pattern, curly girls should do the L.O.C. method (and if you have low porosity hair do the L.C.O. method). So what is it? Wash your hair and use a Leave in conditioner, Oil and Cream.

I am not loyal to a conditioner (although I do like the Cantu Shea Butter Products). For oil I go for coconut, argon or castor. For cream I go between Miss Jessies Curly Pudding or Pillow Soft curls or Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Milk or Smoothie. For second and third day (or if you’re lucky fourth day) curl reviver I spray with a leave in conditioner and water concoction and, if needed, add my cream or Eco Styler product.

Here is a good tutorial that matches my routine.

Glue on nails– Outside of going to the salon and getting a gel manicure, polish just does not stay on my nails. So when I want a manicured look on my own, I go for glue on nails. And they’ve come a long way since the 80s. Kiss nails are my favorite brand. If glued properly, they can last me 7-14 days and are super cheap!

nails

Here’s a good tutorial

Foot masks – You want soft feet but don’t have time to go to the salon or get a paraffin treatment? Foot Mask are a great option. They go on kind of like socks but there’s mask “stuff” in them. You wear them for about 30 minutes and you’re good. Different brands do different things. I’m not loyal to any particular one.

Sleeping masks– This has become all the rage. They are mask you wear while sleeping for every type of skin issue. I swear, if you want to know where the next beauty trend is going to come from see what’s happening in Japan and South Korea because half of these new beauty trends (serums, bb creams) come from these places. I’m a fan of the Sephora brand.sleeping mask

 

Micellar Water– I love make up, makeup doesn’t love my skin. I get tired and don’t always have the strength to do a complete wash. This product is the fix. It takes off even water proof makeup and you can do it from the comfort of you bed. Better than cloths because it acts as a magnet to take the makeup and keep pores clean!

micellar water

Hope this helps!

My Wash and Go: A Natural Hair Routine

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So I talk about my natural hair a few times in my post and I explain the type of products I use. So I decided maybe it’s time to do a picture post of my wash day routine.

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Okay first I should preface this by saying my hair is Type 3c curl pattern with some 3b and 4a here and there. I also have high porosity, fine hair. Why does this matter? It really relates to the type of products and styling you should use. Want to know your hair details? Check out this link .

Ok so here we go:

First I only do a full wash my hair once a week. About 3 or 4 days after my full wash, I wash with a cleansing conditioner. In between the washes I use a spray bottle of water and conditioner to dampen my hair and refresh the curls. I also use frizz serums and Eco Styler to give shine to my curls.

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(Counter- clockwise) Twisted Sister De-Frizz Polishing Serum, Ecostyler Maxim Hold, Detangling comb, Spray bottle with water and leave in conditioner

 

Ok, so I wash with a curl shampoo (I’m not loyal to a brand. I just must address frizz, dryness and add volume). Then I will use a hair deep conditioner or mask. Finally I will detangle my hair in the shower with my fingers or a detangling comb (sometimes I rinse out the mask and add a conditioner to aid in ease of detangling). Keep hair soaking wet through this. Rinse out the conditioner with COLD water. Not the most fun thing to do, especially in the winter, but this is a must to help prevent frizz and dry hair.

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Counter Clockwise- Garnier Fructise Curl Nourish Shampoo, Curl Twirls Hair Masque, Renpure Cleansing Conditioner

 

Then I will squeeze my hair of the excess water (sometimes I won’t) but will NOT towel dry. Water is your friend and dry hair like mine wants to lock in the moisture. So with my wet hair I do the trusty L.O.C. method that I talk so much about (it’s a great way to keep in moisturizer and reduce frizz for long lasting hair between washes). I coat my hair with a leave in conditioner, part my hair in 2 – 4 sections and apply an oil (focus on the ends), and finally add a milk/cream/gel/mouse in the different sections.

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African Pride Olive Miracle Leave-in Conditioner, Dark and Lovely Au Natural L.O.C. Soak it up cocktail, Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk

 

If I have time, I will air dry it a bit.

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Excuse my bare face, put on some glasses to offset it LOL.  My hair is halfway dry here.

 

 

Regardless of whether I have time or not, I will always blow dry my hair with a diffuser to help give my hair body. A diffuser is a must as it also prevents frizzy curls when blow drying.

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I will also go in my roots and scrunch it up to add volume or even use an afro pic. Again, for my fine hair, volume is a focus.

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Once I have received my perfect volume. I’m done! Note: I have a few pieces of hair in the front and back that are resistant to curling like the rest. When I want perfection I will twist and pin curl those pieces while wet. I didn’t this time.

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Face beat, hair done, but dang cat in the background!

 

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My Online Go-Tos

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As a blogger, I spend more time than I care to admit online. Don’t worry, I venture out of my house. However there are times when I just don’t want to deal with the hassle of a brick and motor store and just order something quickly. I am also a person that likes to get answers quickly so I have sites I like to visit to get answers. So here are my favorite websites for the various areas of my life:

 

Winterizing your body for the cold

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Yep I said it, winterize your body. So you know I hate the cold but not just because the temperatures make me want to fight the air. However, I can’t ignore the fact that the harsh, dry, cold winter air does not do wonders for the body. So there are some things I do to try to get me looking less that the snow monster from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and more like myself! snow man

  • Body– So my skin is super dry in the winter and my regular lotion is a joke in the winter. If you have dry itchy skin try putting on an oil gel right after the shower and add cocoa butter or shea butter on top of that. My personal go to is Johnson’s baby oil gel with Shea and Cocoa Butter. Also don’t forget a good body moisturizing body wash with a butter!gel
  • Feet– I don’t get as many pedicures in the winter but that doesn’t mean my feet are hoofs. I keep them as presentable as possible by using a personal pedi. Get’s rid of dead skin and calluses and is quick and painless.pedi
  • Face– I am a big fan of facials and although I have super oily skin it still becomes overly dry in the winter. One way to get rid of dry patchy skin is with a glycolic peel or pad. My current fav is Peter Roth glycolic max complexion correction pads.peel
  • Hair– My hair gets dry as well in the winter. And with curly, natural hair it can really get brittle, especially when you add in workouts. One thing to do is cleansing conditioners in lieu of shampoo (and never use sulfate based products for natural or curly hair). I don’t have a brand I particularly like so I go with any kind. When I wear my hair in its curly state I also do the L.O.C. method (I do this year round actually). I put in a leave in conditioner, an oil like coconut or castor oil, and a cream (my fav or Miss Jessie’s products)miss jessies
  • Hands– Nothing gives away your age more than hands (and your neck). So I leave a thick hand cream by my bedside. Besides aging I also hate my hands to look like I just been digging in flour. If I go to work forgetting to lotion up the digits, I keep lotion in my purse and a big bottle at my desk. I really like lotions with, you guessed it, shea butters!
Hope this helps. What are some things you do to keep yourself looking good in the cold?

 

Not Without My Hair

I’m a naturalista (not sure who came up with that term but thanks) but planning out how my hair is going to look and be maintained has become a factor in my travels since I studied abroad in the early 2000s. I like to diversify my look and I know that my hair is not weather friendly so I have to plan how I will do my hair before I hit the road.

So here are some things to consider and tips to avoid a hair disaster when traveling overseas with naturally curly hair:

  • Will my curling iron work in this country if I choose to go with a straight look? Sure you can get an adapter but they don’t always work. I’m looking at you Italy where a girl had gotten her hair freshly blown out and her adapter did NOT work the whole time with her curling iron. Somehow, with the help of bobby pins and a satin scarf I was able to maintain my unrelaxed hair. Morale of the story? Always prepare for the break down of your adapter. shiny
  • Will my hair be patted down at the airport and do I care? The bigger the curl the bigger the chance. I won’t jump to the idea that its discrimination and instead look at it in a practical way. I have forgotten I stuck pencils in my curly fro so it’s possible a TSA agent would want to touch the hair while going through security. This is also true if you are wearing wigs or weaves.
  • Do I want to wear a protective style? Speaking of wigs and weaves. Sometimes the easiest option or back up is a wig. Also you could wear a braided style which is the easiest of them all. You don’t have to worry about adapters or the weather.

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    I really want this hair style for the summer

  • Am I checking luggage? This is a question that actually matters because if I wear my hair in its natural state I have a few products (aka liquids) that have to be considered. I have some that I put in small containers so that they can go in the boarding size. However, if I’m going for a longer period of time I have to check my bag because I’ll have too much product.
  • Does the destination I am going to have shops where I can find my hair products?
    Natural-Hair-Care-Products-for-African-Americans

    I found a display like this in Amsterdam but won’t hold my breath for this in Thailand.

    If I really don’t want to check in my bag and just chance it with the small amount of product I carry on board then I need to consider whether the city I am visiting sells products for my hair type. Back in the day this was an actual concern but many of the towns I visit nowadays carry natural hair care product lines. However, if I’m visiting Budapest or Hong Kong, I won’t be expecting to see my hair care lines so this might play a role in what hair style choice I plan.

So maybe these considerations seem silly but if you have ever lost luggage where all your hair care products resided, had to buy a curling iron because your adapter didn’t work or had to scower a town (never to find) products to style your hair, trust me you don’t want to. Call me vain, but a type a cosmo girl likes to look nice when she’s traveling.