Monday, 31 March 2014

Wash day: Winter 2014 Challenge Prep

Hey everybody,

I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was so laid back, because I was feeling lazy and all. The laziness even went as far as my wash day. I wasn't too lazy to totally skip it, but I did just focus on the essentials. And what was really essential to me was getting my DC session. So all I did yesterday was mix what was left of my Beautiful Textures Rapid Repir with my Tresemme conditioner, slathered my box braids in the mix and let everything marinate under 2 shower caps for 2 hours. After that, I rinsed off with cool water and t-shirt dried until I went to bed. This morning I decided to do a mini dusting before the start of my Winter 2014 Challenge. My ends were looking a bit straggly so I took off up to half a centimetre on each box braid.

my trimmed off ends - horrible looking, aren't they?

So my hair is back under my trusty wig for a second week, and I am continuing with the wig regimen up until my touchup.

In other news, the 1 year anniversary of Hard Mashona Type Giveaway is (finally) coming up. I am giving away a microfibre hair towel that is a generic version of a turbie twist. All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. Sorry to my readers out of Zimbabwe, this giveaway is only for Zimbabwean ladies for logistics purposes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So tell me, how was your washday?

The Wash Day Experience

Friday, 28 March 2014

Product Review - Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair Deep Conditioner

I have used this product 3 times now, which means its time for a product review. Yaaaay!!!

Product: Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair Deep Conditioner for Mixed Textures

Rapid Repair

Price: I don't remember but between US$15-US$20 (at Jeenz, Travel Plaza, Harare)

Ingredients: Aqua, Glycine Soja Oil/Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Argania Spinosa Nut Oil/Argan Oil, Cocos Nucifera Oil/Coconut Oil, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil/Olive Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii Fruit/Shea Butter, Mangifera Indica Seed Butter/Mango Butter, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract/Rosemary Extract, Dimethicone, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract/Aloe Vera, Phenyl Trimethicone, Panax Ginseng Root Extract/Ginseng Extract, Polyquaternium 37, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/ Dicaprate, Steareth 2, Steareth 20, Lanolin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Polysorbate 20, DMDM Hydantoin, CI 15985/Yellow 6, Parfum/Fragrance, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Coumarin, d-Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Lyral, Methyl Ionone Gamma.

Promises: (from Beautiful Textures website) To help ensure your hair has a fighting chance against daily styling stresses use Rapid Repair Deep Conditioner to help strengthen, rebuild, protect and hydrate.
Rapid Repair Deep Conditioner allows you to embrace more versatile styling options, while protecting your hair from the inside out. To achieve softer, more defined curls, healthier looking elongated coils and simply silky smooth hydrated hair use this feather lite deep penetrating conditioner.

My take:
The first time I used this product, I frankly hated it. I was using it on loose hair and it had no slip whatsoever when I applied it and tried to detangle -____-. And I was close to 12 weeks post then, so I really had a lot of new growth to go through. I ended up adding some ORS Replenishing conditioner on top to add some much needed slip. The next time I used it, I mixed it with what was left of my Darbur Vatika Naturals DC. It did an adequate job, but it wasn't anything to write home about. 
On my last wash day (23/3/14) I used it on its own. The difference this time was that I was using it while my hair was in box braids. The lack of slip didn't matter since I wasn't detangling using the DC. But man oh man, when I rinsed it out after an hour of baking in the Zimbabwean sun... My hair felt awesome when I was taking down the box braids I washed in, very soft and hydrated. My new growth was behaving so well, it felt like I had a texlax done that day. Detangling was a breeze, despite the minor matting and tangling I had had during the week. 
I am not happy about the jar size, that jar is so itty bitty, and my hair needs major amounts of conditioner for us to be friends when I have this much new growth. I only managed to make it up to almost 4 washes using this jar because I was mixing with other conditioners. 
The ingredients list is OK for anyone as OCD about what they put on their hair like I am (yes, I am that annoying girl in the shop, reading product ingredients 5 times before deciding whether to keep a product or chuck it back). I am not too happy about how far down the list my beloved dimethicone is (10th) which is probably why it doesn't have as much slip as I would like. But the top 5 ingredients (water, soya bean oil, vegetable oil, argan oil and coconut oil)are top notch for keeping hair at its healthiest. 
Conclusion: I give this product 3.5/5 thumbs up. The lack of slip is what really let it down, since I need my conditioners to have plenty of slip.But the goodness that this DC leaves in the hair, is what redeemed it in my eyes. 
I will use it in rotation with other conditioners, but I cannot say I have found a staple to replace my beloved Darbur Vatika range of DCs. The hunt for a great DC is still on.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Winter Is Coming - Regimen for Winter 2014

So last night, I got so fed up with my new growth that I ended up grabbing a tub of  Motions Lye Relaxer. I slathered it onto my new growth, and smoothed it out. And it started to burn my scalp after a few minutes. So I go to the bathroom to rinse it out, and I realise I had no neutralizing shampoo. Here I was, standing with a head covered in relaxer that's burning my poor scalp and I have no neutralizing shampoo. Then I woke up with my heart pounding and a very itchy scalp.

So the weather is changing here in Africa. The sun is rising later (like at around 5.40am instead of 5.10am) and the mornings are becoming chillier. This morning, temperatures in my home town felt like they were at around 12`C. An even more positive sign of the changes in the weather is my scalp which has been having a major case of the itchies. Winter is definitely on its way here in the Southern hemisphere and its time for me to start thinking about how to adjust my regimen for winter.

Winter 2014 (April - August) Regimen

1. Protective style with wigs 95% of the time (it is also a great way to keep my head and ears warm)
2. Deep condition with heat at least once a week
3. Seal with castor oil. I will use coconut oil only for pre-poos
4. Frequent scalp massages to help keep the itchies away. Come to mama Wild Growth Oil (which I shall mix with tea tree oil)
5. Start incorporating hot oil treatments/oil rinses

And to help me stick to my regimen, I will start setting monthly goals once again, and keep track of everything I do to my hair in my Hair Journal app. By the time summer starts in September (yup, we have only two seasons in Africa, summer and winter), my hair will hopefully be edging towards BSL in a healthy state, and my scalp would be pretty healthy as well.

So for my fellow Africans who are dedicated to their hair (I prefer that to obsessed), what are you going to do to adjust your regimen for winter?


Monday, 24 March 2014

Wash Day Saga - Clarifying and Protein Session

Hello everyone, I hope you had a great weekend.

I did my wash day yesterday afternoon after my after-Mass nap. I had to clarify since I had major scalp (and hair build up) and I also wanted to do a protein treatment since I had used heat last week, and my hair was feeling fragile. I was even having little bits of hair break off and I was NOT happy about it. The breakage also made me decide to go back to my wigging regimen since my hair needs to have very little manipulation right now and lots of TLC. Here's what happened:

1. Prepoo with coconut oil, finger detangled and did 8 box braids to wash in
2. Shampoo with ORS Uplifting shampoo + a hotel shampoo diluted with water (I really need to buy more shampoo)
3. Rinsed out shampoo, and used a t-shirt to absorb excess water. Protein treatment with Aphogee 2 minute keratin reconstructor for 5 minutes in the sum under a plastic cap
4. Rinsed out the protein treatment and blotted excess water with a t-shirt. Applied DC (Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair) and covered with a plastic cap for 1 hour. ION connected to this step, I really lost my heat processing cap somewhere in my room. I swear there's a hair stuff eating monster hiding under my bed. I had to sit out in the sun for an hour so that the DC could really penetrate
5. Rinsed out the DC and t-shirt dried for 30 minutes.
6. Undid each box braid, applied HE LTR Split End Protector and detangled using my wide tooth comb from ends to roots. Then I did the box braid up again into 2 or 3 smaller box braids.
7. This morning I moisturised my box braids with Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter moisturizer before sealing with a new oil blend that I will review in a few weeks. I then wore a wig cap on top before wearing my new SL wig to work today.

This time I am taking the wig regimen seriously. My hair has absolutely refused to behave and will keep on acting up until my touch up. I am still pushing for a 6 month stretch (about 26 weeks according to when I want to relax) and I do not want to do it earlier. So my two wigs will be my salvation until then.

By the way you can now find me on blogloving... I am slow to the party I know.

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

So tell me, how was your wash day?


Friday, 21 March 2014

Random Hair Babble

This Friday took too long to get hear. It feels like its been a month since my last weekend. I am exhausted and sick, and all I want to do right now is snuggle into my pink blankets and pass out for 24 hours. Yup, this has been a long week.

This week I discovered that I can rock the sock bun. I wore my sock bun on Wednesday and Thursday and that thing got me major attention. One of the girls I got to church with was all like "OMG, your hair is awesome"  and I just did this B)... "I know". Hahaha, ok, all ego and fantasies aside this girl was surprised that my hair was long enough for such a style (since its almost always shrunk these days) and wanted to know whether she can do it too. I shall get her to abandon that weave she was been rocking for more than 2 months soon...

Today Hard Mashona Type turns 1. I had promised a giveaway, but due to my being sick and being broke (can't next Friday be here already) I have decided to postpone it until the first week of April. So watch this space for more updates on the upcoming giveaway.

In the year since I started documenting my hair journey here, I have grown from NL to APL (with a few lead hairs already chilling at BSB). Its been a crazy ride, and I wouldn't have made it this far without the support from Hairlista and GAHL. Hopefully, by the time the blog turns two, I will be beyond BSL and chasing down MBL... Yes we can do this long, healthy hair business.

Shrinkage is the devil. I will always say this. This morning, my hair had reverted from the straightness and shrunk so much that I could barely get it together into a ponytail. I am now 18 weeks post, and this stretch isn't a joke anymore. And whenever I think that I still have 8 more weeks to go until I can texlax the heck out of my new growth, I almost breakdown and cry. Anyway, I am going to stop wearing my hair out after this weekend. I'm grabbing one of my trusty wigs and PSing my way through the last weeks of my stretch. ION, I can't wait until May.

When I went to church on Sunday, I saw the saddest thing in my life. A cute 3 year old girl had absolutely no hairline left. What is wrong with parents and letting too much tension and heavy braids get up close and personal with their baby girl's hairline. If I see that kid at Mass on Sunday I am going to look for her mom and tell her that the style is really bad for the baby. I am going to save the world, one kid's hairline (and hair) at a time.

I forgot to add this to my Wash Day post on Monday. I had to wash my hair outdoors on Sunday since the weather was beautiful and we had no power. So while I was getting my hair arsenal onto the lawn, our puppies took my shower caps and started fighting over them. I had to scare off the little idiots in order to save my shower caps. This is why I will always like cats more.

I really have a hair tool/product black hole in my room. My two wide tooth combs had disappeared this morning. My heat processing cap has been MIA for 2 weeks now. And of course the scrunchies and hair pins that go missing everyday. Sometimes I wish that the black hole would take my flat iron and blowdryer and leave my other stuff...

I am turning 25 in less than 3 months. And all I want for my birthday is this wishlist:
 - Babyliss Pro flatiron
 - Magnetic or mesh rollers
 - Contact lenses (I seriously hate wearing glasses)
 - 3 litres of any Darbur Vatika Naturals deep conditioner
 - henna
 - HE LTR Split End Protector
 - lace wig

I have discovered a few 3c curls in my head. Which is totally weird since I have always been a type 4 kinks and curls type of person. Where have these curls been hiding all my life, and when are they planning to go back? Lol, yeah I am crazy for wanting to get rid of them, and not wanting more of them, but I prefer having all kinks rather than a mix of kinks and curls.

I am planning to watch Trevor Noah "That's Racist" tonight while I finger detangle and give my hair a good oiling, Indian style.I can't do my wash day tomorrow since I'm going to spend all day at a youth leadership course at church. This trend is worrying me. I am being forced to adopt Sunday as my wash day. Oh well, cleanliness is next to Godliness I guess.

I need to try out different styles. This bunning life is becoming too much.

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Product Review: Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Moisturizer

I have almost finished my first jar of this product which means it is time for my first product review. Here it goes:

Product: Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Moisturizer

Olive Oil &amp; Mango Butter Moisturizer
Price: US$15 (at Jeenz, Travel Plaza, Harare)

Ingredients:  WaterOlive Oil, Capric Caprylic Tirglycerides, PEG-75 Lanolin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceterareth-20, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Mango butter, Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Biotin (Vitamin H), Linoleic Acid (Vitamin F), Avocado Oil, Fragrance, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Hydrolyzed Silk, CI19140 Yellow 5.

Promises (according to the website): 

Olive Oil & Mango Butter Moisturizer

Moisturizing Butter of Mango and Olive Oil creates this intensely rich thermal protecting treatment.
  • Use Olive Oil & Butter Moisturizerdaily for softer fuller looking hair
  • Moisturizing Butter of Mango and Olive Oil helps strengthen and protect hair against breakage, split-ends and dryness

My take: I started using this product at the end of January, when I was almost 12 weeks post. I needed a moisturizer that really sunk into my new growth making it easier to detangle, and more hydrated. I have extremely thick type 4 hair as well as texlaxed hair so a heavy butter seems to work best for me.

I use the butter when I moisturize and seal. The butter is easily absorbed by my hair and instantly softens it, making it easier to smooth into my updo for the day without a comb. I also love the cones in the product. They add some much needed slip making it easier to detangle. It does not weigh down my hair, and like I said earlier is easily absorbed giving maximum benefit to my hair.

The product is also in a jar, amking it easy to scoop up the amount I want to use. I also love the smell of this product, it makes my hair smell fab.The only thing I don't like about this product is that the quantity is too small for me. When I'm coming up to 18 weeks post, with 2.5 inches of growth and plenty of texlaxed hair, I need more product that can last for longer.

I can't really say much about the price since I'm in Africa, and my BSS imports this stuff, so it is bound to be a wee bit more expensive than it would be in the USA or the UK. 

Conclusion: This moisturizer get 5/5 thumbs up from me and makes it to staple status

Monday, 17 March 2014

Wash Day Saga: Direct Heat

This post almost didn't happen. But since I'm trying to stay disciplined and keep up with my posting schedule, here is your Wash Day Saga post.

This weekend was pretty hectic. I was supposed to do my wash day on Saturday but I ended up going to watch rugby (AKA socialize).I ended up moving my wash day to Sunday after church. My wash day was made even more complicated by the fact that we had a power outage in my neighbourhood since Saturday night (the joys of living in Africa) and I wanted to use heat one last time until just before my texlax in May.

This is what happened:

1. Prepoo with coconut oil
2. Finger detangled and braided hair into 8 box braids for washing
3. Shampoo with sulfate free shampoo (Infusium 23)
4. DC with mix of Vatika Naturals DC for dull, dry hair and Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair for 2 hours using the sun as my heat source :)
5. Rinsed out with cold water, t-shirt dried for 1.5 hours
6. Applied leave in (HE Long Term Relationship Split End Protector) and comb detangled
7. Did 4 cornrows for bed
8. Flat ironed using ORS Heat Protection serum this morning.

OK, I seriously should just stop using heat. Its not helping to straighten my new growth, and its definitely not helping my bone straight ends (sigh). I am going back into my wig regimen either tonight or this weekend. My hair is now definitely grazing BSB but I will do a bit of a cut when I texlax in May just to get rid of some of the bone straight hair. I think I am on track for BSB by June, and BSL by December. I just to keep up with the regimen and really start wigging it. I am going to buy a new wig today, though truth be told, most of the wigs I have seen in Harare so far are not appealing

I ended up only doing 3/7 days of inversions this past week. I blame it on my party animal side that went out of control this past week.

I also had to top up some of my products on Friday. I was running out of my essentials and I needed them even though I was broke. I got my Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter moisturizer and Tresemme moisturising conditioner (which I will use to DC after adding a little sum'n sum'n to it).

So conclusions (and goals) from my wash day are:

1. No more heat until the week before texlax
2. Back on protective style regime 95% of the time until May
3. Urgent need for protein on next wash day
4. Mini trim after texlax
5. Need to buy a new wig like yesterday

That's it from me this week.

How did your wash day go?


Friday, 14 March 2014

TGIF and Random hair Babble

Hello loves,

Thank God it finally Friday. I seriously can't wait for the weekend coz I get a chance to sleep in, clean my room and give my hair a lil TLC. 

I have been suffering from an almost non stop headache this week. This is because the glasses I'm wearing are not the correct prescription, and I had to wear them ever since I lost one of my contact lenses. Anyway I'm off to the optician today to get my new lenses, and hopefully the headaches will disappear after this.

I have gotten back on my water game. My skin had been looking horrible, and my hair growth hasn't been that great. So I decided to up my water intake. I started slowly, at 800ml, and I want to build up to 2l a day. I know it's not much but I really hate the taste of water (what's up with having no taste?) 

I am 17 weeks post today, and the new growth is driving me insane. I can't  do anything with my hair, and I have to fight it each morning just to get it into a bun for work. I know I am planning to end my stretch in May just before my birthday so I can whip my (hopefully BSB) hair for my birthday. I don't know if I can hold out for that long though. All I'm thinking of is heading to jeenzbeautysupply and grab some ORS relaxer so I can tame my growth. I think I have to protective style this weekend so that I just forget about my hair for another couple of weeks.

Or maybe I should break out the heat this weekend? I really wanted to flat iron when I buy the Babyliss pro flat iron, but with my finances and my minuscule salary I would have to wait for a really long time. Maybe I will use my Geepas flat iron one last time this weekend... Or maybe I should ignore that little devil telling me to fry my hair. I am so indecisive today. Maybe I should buy a new wig unit and just wig it before I do something crazy with my hair

I have also been feeling oddly scissors happy this week. All I have been thinking about is snipping the 3.5 inches of bone straight hair left on my head and just be fully texlaxed all at once. My hair is looking healthy and the ends look ok, but I'm just tired of having those thin looking ends, and thick looking texlaxed hair and new growth underneath.

This morning I decided to moisturise and seal using the Twisted Sista Curl Activator cream I got from Curly Eva. Well, I don't have any curls that can pop from using this, but after seeing the first 3 ingredients (water, apricot oil and glycerine) I thought that this would make a great moisturizer. So I sealed with coconut oil, before finger combing and pulling my hair into a low bun (the only style my hair seems to like now).

BTW, Hard Mashona Type is turning a year old next week. I should probably do a birthday giveaway to celebrate my baby's first year of life. More info on that once I get a few things sorted (hopefully by next week Wednesday).

My Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter moisturizer is running out. And I'm broke. I need a miracle in order to get the finances to top up my stash. I need more moisturizer, DC and clarifying shampoo. If only I really didn't need my contact lenses, I would go buy these things ASAP.

I am going to complete my March round of inversions on Sunday. I will do the ending measurements next week Thursday and see if there has been any growth. Measurements as of Wednesday evening were: Front: 30cm, Sides: 28cm, Back: 27cm.

I am going to hunt for my mom's old rollers in the house over the weekend. I haven't done a rollerset since my last salon touch up (December 2012). I feel like wearing my hair in something different for once. But then again, I might end up not doing the set coz of my laziness. I really need some interventions in my life.

That's all from me. I am out of the office early so I can go to my optician.

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

"I Have No Hair in My Kitchen!!!"

So an acquaintance of mine was complaining of how the hair in her "kitchen" never grows. I asked her about her hair habits and she says that:

1. When she relaxes, she relaxes it bone straight, to the extent of over processing (even previously relaxed ends)
2. When she gets a protective style she doesn't do anything to her hair after
3. She never does a DC or an oil treatment, except when she has her touch up done

When I heard all this, I had my own flashback. As recently as 2012, I had neck length relaxed hair everywhere except in my kitchen. My kitchen had hair about 1 inch long that was completely natural. This was my hair just before I had a big chop and started my HHJ in 2012. My hair at this point in time was double processed (relaxed and colored), and I had major breakage because I didn't manage to do DC treatments on a regular basis for 4 weeks.

my messed up kitchen

The nape had always been a problem area for me. It was drier, the texture was kinkier and it was just the typical hard Mashona type kind of hair. Back when I had my hair over processed with each relaxer, the nape hair would always break off quickly, resulting in very little hair there.

Fast forward to 2 years later, and my nape is pretty healthy. The length of the hair at my nape is equal to the rest of the hair on my head. I managed to do this thanks to the following:

1. Starting off with a hair cut. My ends were pretty damaged as you can see in the photo above, but the growth coming in was strong and healthy. So to stop the damage from spreading to my healthy hair I had my mum cut off all my dead ends, and I started my hair journey with a TWA that was about 1 inch long.

2. Frequent and regular DC sessions. My hair thrives when I DC at least once a week. My hair is even healthier when I DC twice a week. The longest I can go without doing a DC and not experience a setback is 2 weeks. The DC provides moisture (especially in my extra dry kitchen) and also boosts my hair's strength. I have limited breakage when I DC frequently.

3. Avoiding overprocessing. I used to have my hair relaxed from root to end with every touch up I got. And because my hair is what is termed "resistant" the stylists used to let the relazxer sit for longer than what was stated in the instructions. Add in the combing with a small tooth comb, my hair was left in such a weak state that it just had to snap off when put under any stress at all. But thanks to texlaxing and long relaxer stretches, my hair never gets over processed now. Texlaxing leaves my hair with some strength and elasticity, while the long relaxer stretches help prevent relaxer overlapping. The hair strand has more strength and can withstand manipulation.

 Did you ever have nape issues? How did you solve them?

Mid-Week Co-Wash

I haven't done one of these in a while (since last November I'm sure). Well, I am now coming up on 17 weeks post, and with 2+ inches of new growth, I had to do something to keep my hair happy. So I decided to bring back an oldie, the mid-week co-wash. This way, I keep my moisture levels up, my hair gets less matting and stays soft.

When I got home last night, I started by doing a scalp massage with my Wild Growth oil. The massage lasted for ages, over 15 minutes of just making my scalp happy with all that stimulation. After the massage, I did my inversion for about 3 minutes (by that time I was getting too much of a head rush..

I started finger detangling my hair and added some ORS Replenishing conditioner before doing some box braids. I ended up with 7 box braids that I covered with 2 shower caps, my satin scarf and my woolly hat overnight. This morning, I rinsed out the conditioner with lukewarm water (coz it was way too cold to play with cool water. I t-shirt dried while going through the rest of my morning routine. After I was dressed, I started taking down the box braids and detangled with a wide tooth comb. The comb just glided through because the hair was still damp and not all the conditioner got rinsed out. I sealed with castor oil and did a low bun for work (which is also my favorite way to airdry and stretch out that new growth).

I know my stretch is supposed to last for another 9 weeks, but my fingers are now itching for the relaxer kit. I have to stay strong, this stretch can only do good to my scalp and my hair. So I'm going to look around for a protective style that's easy and quick to do, but still gives me access to my hair and scalp.


Monday, 10 March 2014

Wash Day Saga... Moisture, moisture and more moisture

Hey everybody,

Hope you had a great weekend. Mine sucked, the boo went out of the country for the weekend. And I had a job interview on Saturday, which meant I had to delay my wash day. So on Sunday after Mass, I finally got down to business and this is what happened:

1. I did a mini prepoo with coconut oil before I went to church
2. After church, I finger detangled and divided my hair into 8 sections and did box braids
3. Shampoo with ORS uplifting shampoo (diluted) because I had major build up
4. DC with the last of my Darbur Vatika Naturals Garlic hair mask. I will miss that product :"( under heat process cap and shower cap for an hour
5. Rinsed with cool water, t-shirt dried for an hour
6. Applied leave in (HE LTR split end protector) and sealed with castor oil. Finished air drying in threads overnight

I also started my march round of inversions last night. This time, I am using the Wild Growth oil as the scalp massage oil. 

That's all I did this weekend. How was your wash day?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

How To: Stretch your relaxer

As most of you know, I am a serial stretcher. Pre-HHJ I used to stretch for 12 weeks. Then when I started my HHJ I started doing 16-20 week stretches. This time, I'm on my biggest challenge yet, my 26 week (6 month stretch).

First, some of you may be thinking what the heck is stretching? Stretching is simply the art of having longer periods in between your relaxer touch ups. Most relaxer manufacturers advise on doing a touch up at least 6-8 weeks after a previous relaxer service. Most stretchers do their relaxers after 12 weeks, but some may stretch for up to a year.

A major advantage of stretching is that you will do your relaxer touch up when you have plenty of growth. This will prevent  overlapping (getting relaxer onto already relaxed hair). This helps to keep your hair stronger, and it will be less likely to break off. This will aid in retaining your length, and you can grow healthy relaxed hair to unbelievable lengths.

Like anything else, too much of  a good thing can cause harm. For example, stretching for too long without handling your hair right will lead to breakage, and matting. This may actually lead to a setback, so what you really need to do is stretch wisely. If you are a newbie to stretching, just add an extra week to the time you normally wait before getting your next touch up. If you normally wait for 4 weeks, wait for 5 weeks then you can do your next relaxer. Keep on adding a week until you get to what you view as your ultimate stretching period. This will ensure that you learn how to look after your new growth, and the line of demarcation (the area on your hair strand where your different hair textures i.e. relaxed and new growth meet).

So my tips for stretching (from my experience) are:

1. Moisture (water) is your new best friend. I usually up my moisture when I am at 8 weeks post, because that's when my new growth goes all crazy. Deep condition at least once a week, moisturize and seal almost every day, and baggy/GHE. One of my faves for when I am deep into a stretch is letting a hot, damp towel sit over my hair and just steam my hair for a few minutes. This gives my hair a moisture boost, and I can manipulate it without fearing breakage. Co-washing is also a good way to get moisture into your hair.

2. Heat should be an acquaintance. I use direct heat more frequently when I am 12+ weeks post relaxer. The first time I did a 16 week stretch, I ended up with hair that was matting. So I went to Hairlista, and got advice from fellow Listas to use heat a bit more often to stretch out the new growth and keep it smoother. And by heat, I don't mean break out your flat iron every day. Just do a blow dry n the cool setting at most once a week. I normally blow dry every 2 weeks. Don't forget to use heat protectant.

3. Less use of combs. I reduce the use of my wide tooth comb when I am deep into a stretch. I finger detangle during the week using coconut oil, and only use my comb when I'm doing my major wash day once a week to just get rid of all the shed hair. This helps to protect my fragile line of demarcation and reduce the amount of breakage I get, allowing for more length retention.

4. Protective style, protective style and protective style. Its the easiest way to stretch your relaxer. Hiding your hair means there is a lot less manipulation, and therefore little harm to your line of demaracation. But you have to remember that hiding your hair doesn't mean neglecting it. Moisturise and seal, clean your scalp and deep condition, so that you can retain your length. Also watch how the protective style is installed. It shouldn't be too tight as it might lead to traction alopecia . And the protective style shouldn't break off your hair either. Remember not to leave it on for too long as it might lead to this

BIG CHOP anyone??? - Hair Care for Protective Styles

5. Quit while you are still ahead. I just had to repeat myself. Once you notice extreme shedding or breakage, do your touch up. Don't keep stretching because you want to meet a calendar goal. Always listen to your hair. For example, during my last stretch (at almost 18 weeks post) I started experiencing some extreme shedding, and I knew the time had come to end my stretch.

Happy stretching.


Monday, 3 March 2014

Wash Day Saga


I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine wasn't all that as a cousin of mine passed away and I couldn't go for the funeral because of work obligations, and the fact that I had to stay at home to supervise our house help.

I did my wash day on Saturday and this is what happened:

1. Prepoo with coconut oil while hair was in box braids from during the week
2. Shampoo with sulfate free shampoo (Infusium 23) on scalp. Rinsed out and repeated
3. DC with Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair under heat process cap for one hour
4. Rinsed with cold water, t-shirt dried for 30 minutes, applied leave in (HE LTR since I was planning to blow dry the box braids) and heat protectant (ORS heat protection serum).
5. Blow dried on cool setting for 5 minutes, and air dried.
6. Oiled scalp with Wild Growth Oil and re-did some of the box braids that were loose

So I am now in week 2 of the wig reggie and it seems to be going good. I completed my wash day with minimal manipulation (since I washed in the box braids) and I didn't use a comb at all. I only blow dried because it was cold and raining and I didn't really want to catch a cold or let my hair grow moldy while trying to air dry the box braids. So I tried out the Beautiful Textures DC and I'm still on the fence about it. I think I will have to use it a few more times to see whether its a keeper in my reggie.

Well, that's it from me for today.