Friday, 30 January 2015

Reblog: Living the Curly Life; or what it is like living with a beast

Instead of the back to basics post this week, I decided to reblog another blogger I follow. Meet Tall n Curly, the one person who really feels my struggles as

a. a tall girl, and
b. a curly (well, more kinky) haired girl

This morning I found her new comic on my feed, and enjoyed it so much I got to share it. Follow the link and read more....

Have a great weekend,

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Below The Waist: The 10 Commandments: Relaxed Hair

I am no longer a relaxed head, but I still love and appreciate beautiful heads of healthy, relaxed hair. And one lady with such a head shared her 10 Commandments of Relaxed Hair. So if you are relaxed, follow the link, read them, print them out and practice them.

Below The Waist: The 10 Commandments: Relaxed Hair: As relaxed girls, there are some things we just should. not. do. These practices cause so many problems and stunt our progress on our que...

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Wash Day Saga - Girl vs. Hair

Hello, I hope you all had a pleasant weekend.

This wash day (or rather its aftermath) was crazy. I had a WWE moment with my hair yesterday morning as I had to fight it into a bun for church. The hair won almost every battle, but I won the war in the end.

Here's how my wash day went...
The #WashDayExperience
1. I first divided my hair into four sections and clipped them up. Then working one section at a time, I applied coconut oil to my hair and finger detangled. Then I applied my moisturising conditioner and braided up that section.  I did this for all the sections before covering with a shower cap for bed. I also did a scalp massage with MN focusing mainly of my edges (I wanna grow them back).

2. After a nice overnight DC, I took down the braids to wash my hair loose. I first rinsed a little of the conditioner out before cleansing my scalp with a sulfate shampoo (another no name product). I thoroughly massaged my scalp to make sure all the build up got lifted before rinsing again.

3. I wrapped my hair n a t-shirt and continued with my shower routine.

4. When my hair was no longer sopping wet, I sectioned off a quarter of it, applied leave in (Curls Unleashed Take Command Curl Creme), sealed with coconut oil and finger detangled before using African threading to stretch my hair as it airdried. I ended up with a total of 4 sections. I left my hair to airdry overnight.

5. On Sunday morning, I decided to style my hair for church. As most readers already know, I am really not that gifted when it comes to styling, I just stick to buns. So to bun my 14 months post relaxer hair, I first applied vaseline to seal in the slight dampness my hair still had. Then the battle commenced. I didn't want to detangle using a comb, so I tried to smooth down my hair with my fingers before bunning, that didn't work. I comb detangled hoping to smooth down the hair again, that didn't work either. I ended up grabbing a good dollop of Ecostyler gel and applying it to my hair then I smoothed down the hair using an old brush (I did not use the brush to detangle, I just ran it lightly on the top layer of hair). It finally behaved and lay down. I quickly bunned and tied a scarf on top to ensure a smooth effect in the end. Styling took 20 minutes. This really means I need to master a new hairstyle soon.

All in all, I was happy with this wash day. I winged it a bit, but I stuck to my basics: oiling, finger detangling, overnight DC and a thorough scalp cleansing before drying the hair in a stretched state.

I also started doing the inversion method on Wednesday. One of my goals this year is to try to get 12'' in 12 months and retain all my length. So the inversion method is my chosen poison when it comes to boosting hair growth. Like I said in an earlier post, this year is all about being consistent with my basics, and I am trying to be consistent with my inversions.

So how did your washday experience go?

(Sorry I meant to upload a pic from this wash day but it seems like I accidentally deleted it. Pics will be posted next week, pinky swear)

Friday, 23 January 2015

Back to Basics - Building A Hair Regimen

Last week, the back to basics post was about why you should start a hair journey.

Congratulations if you have decided to take your hair's health into your hands, welcome to an international community with thousands of women (and men) who believe healthy hair is the most beautiful hair anyone can have. But now that you have made the decision to start a hair journey, you don't know where to begin. Online, you are being bombarded with so much information, and most of it has the disclaimer that "what works for my hair might not work for yours''. Before you give up before even starting, I have condensed all the wisdom on the internet into a digestible bite for you so you can start your hair journey.

What you need in terms of products and tools, whether you are relaxed or natural are:

- satin/silk bonnet or pillowcase
- wide tooth comb
- sulfate free shampoo/shampoo bar
- clarifying/chelating shampoo
- conditioner (a cheap one)
- a moisturizing deep conditioner
- protein deep conditioner
- coconut/olive oil (extra virgin is best)
- hair clips
- good pair of hair shears (only to be used for your hair)
- leave in conditioner
- moisturizer

I just listed the basic tools and products you will need to start a hair journey. As you research and learn, you will add in more products, tools and techniques. But back to the basics (I have done a four week plan)

Week One (when you start)

- use clarifying shampoo to wash your scalp and hair so you start your hair journey with a clean slate
- use protein deep conditioner to strengthen hair
- follow up with moisturizing deep conditioner
- wrap hair in an old t-shirt to absorb excess water
- when hair is damp, apply leave in conditioner, seal with an oil and style
- if needed trim hair to get rid of damage

during the week (optional)
- moisturize and seal hair using your moisturizer and oil
- massage scalp with oil
- (NOT OPTIONAL) cover hair with satin scarf/bonnet when sleeping

Week 2
- use sulfate free shampoo to cleanse scalp
- deep condition using moisturizing deep conditioner
- follow the rest of the steps from week 1 wash day (except trim step)

Week 3
- same as week 2

Week 4
- same as week 1 except trim stage

The cheap conditioner is there to use when your hair is really tangled to make it easier to detangle. Just generously apply conditioner to a section of hair, comb it using a wide tooth comb starting from the ends moving up to the roots, then clip it up before moving to the next section. Cheap conditioner is also useful as a prepoo (pre shampoo treatment).

Ladies who relax are encouraged to relax after a minimum of 8 weeks (2 months) so they have enough new growth to prevent relaxer overlapping. When I was relaxed, I used to stretch for 12 - 24 weeks.

That is a sample regimen.

My regimen (developed after 2 years) is:

- apply coconut oil to hair and finger detangle
- Deep condition overnight with a moisturising conditioner. The hair will be in braided sections
- rinse out deep conditioner, and wash scalp only using African black soap or a clarifying shampoo
- wrap hair in t-shirt to absorb excess moisture
- sometimes I apply a leave in, but I always seal my hair using coconut oil, baobab oil or vaseline

Once a month
- shampoo hair using a clarifying shampoo
- do a protein treatment
- deep condition using a moisturizing deep conditioner
- wrap hair in t-shirt. Apply leave in conditioner. Seal with an oil/vaseline

Every night I braid my hair into two cornrows and cover with a satin scarf for bed. I am transitioning (growing out my relaxer) so my aim is to be very gentle with my hair to prevent breakage, and manage my multiple textures so that I retain growth.

The idea with a hair regimen is you start with a generic one, and as you learn more about your hair, you tweak it in order to make it work with your schedule and your hair's needs.

If you are in Zimbabwe and want a tailored regimen with a list of suggested products and where to find them, email me at for a consultation.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Wash Day Saga - Another Day Another Wash

Hey lovies,

Hope you had a great, relaxing weekend. I spent mine recharging my batteries and I am raring to go this week.

Wash day this last weekend was simple, quick and easy. Like I said when the year began, this year I am all about keeping it simple to make sure I retain all my length this year and don't need to resort to frequent trimming like last year.

Without any further ado, here's my #washday experience...
The #WashDayExperience
1. My hair was in box braids that I was wearing under my wig. So I just kept in the box braids for the wash day. I first prepooed with coconut oil under my wig while I was at work

2. Overnight DC with a conditioner whose name I keep forgetting to look up :"). All I know is that it is a moisturising conditioner.

3. In the morning I rinsed out the conditioner, and massaged my scalp to lift up the gunk that had built up there. Then I did a scalp wash using African black soap, and rinsed that off.

4. I wrapped my hair in a t-shirt to absorb excess moisture. When my hair was damp, I just sealed in the moisture using vaseline. When my hair was 80% dry, I took down the box braids, and finger combed my hair. The vaseline really helped, as my hair was supple and I didn't experience short strand breakage.

That was my wash day. Keeping to the theme of keeping it simple. How was your washday?

Friday, 16 January 2015

Back to Basics - Why Start a Healthy Hair Journey

So this is the first post of a series I have promised that will run this year on back to basics hair care. The idea is to break down the reasons why you are encouraged to follow some hair practices or abandon others, and help you take charge of your hair length.

As has been said too many times on the internets, African hair can grow to lengths beyond the usual lengths seen on the streets.  Here's why you should start a healthy hair journey

Reason a: Healthy hair looks great

Simple. Healthy hair no matter what its length is looks good. And a healthy, well maintained scalp helps you give your hair a good start right from the follicles. Looking good, boosts your confidence, and generally makes you happier. In the words of the Dothraki (yes I am excited about season 5 of GoT) "It is known".

Reason b: Healthy hair can ''grow'' to unbelievable lengths

I have put the word grow in quotes because that's the word commonly used. But the term I will use hereafter is retain. Healthy hair is easier to work with in terms of length retention, which means you can grow your all the way to your waist and longer.

Reason c: So you learn to care for your hair in between salon visits

Way back when in the dark ages, I never used to do anything with my hair or scalp in between salon visits. Except comb my hair, and grease my scalp. Not surprisingly, I had short hair. When I started taking slightly more care of my hair in between salon visits, it grew longer. When I went fully DIY, my hair grew even longer. Now I am not encouraging you to forsake all stylists and struggle with doing your hair when its not your strength. What I am encouraging you to do is to just take care of your hair in between salon visits, so your stylist has an easier time doing your hair and you get to maintain a healthy, clean scalp and dandruff and flake free hair.  You also get to know what your hair likes and dislikes (yes, hair has a personality).

Reason d: It may help in saving money on haircare

This benefit only kicks in after you pass the product junkie (you buy any hair care product you see or hear about) stage. But it really does come into effect. For example, I do all my routine haircare at home, so the only time I splurge on hair care is when I go to a salon to get a weave or braids installed. And this rarely happens, because I like wearing my hair out. For the relaxed heads, a healthy hair journey also helps in saving money since you will not relax as often. Most ladies cut down from relaxing every month to relaxing 4 or less times a year. As long as you control your spending on products, a healthy hair journey helps in saving money.

Reason e: You get to meet other people interested in hair care like you

For me, this is the biggest reason of all. You get to meet and network with some really awesome people who love and understand hair. You can get a lot of advice, giveaways (who doesn't love freebies) and get to go to meetups where you talk hair all day. You find out what you can do better, where you might have gone off track, and also help out other people.

Some participants at the Zim Healthy Hair Experience

So what are you waiting for? Start your own healthy hair journey now, or if you are already on a healthy hair journey, spread the love and let other people know why a healthy hair journey can help them


Monday, 12 January 2015

Wash Day Saga - First Wash Day of 2015


So you know last Wednesday, I took down my weave after I realised it was actually going to lead to a setback. I was not ready to sacrifice my own hair just to look good with removeable hair, so I bit the bullet and took it down. I really didnt feel like putting in any effort then into detangling and all that, so I just braided up my hair and threw on a wig for the rest of the working week. Friday night finally came around, and I started doing the intense job of detangling, in order to prep my hair for wash day. Here's what happened:
The #WashDayExperience
1. I finger detangled small sections using a lot of coconut oil in order to a. prepoo, and b. get all the shed hair lubricated so it could easily be combed out. No combs were used during this exercise. Once the section was properly detangled, I braided it up and moved to the next section. I ended up with a total of 10 braided sections. I also massaged in MN in my edges. I covered my hair with a shower cap and woolly hat, and left everything to marinate overnight.

2. The next morning, I shampooed my scalp using Dark and Lovely neutralizing shampoo from a long dead relaxer kit. I shampooed and rinsed my scalp twice in order to remove buildup. I finally shampooed the actual hair once to cleanse it.

3. After letting my hair drip all excess water, I slathered on my DC, L'Oreal El Vive Total Repair to the individual braids. I covered the hair with two shower caps and a deep conditioning cap, before leaving it to do its magic for 2 hours.

4. I rinsed out the DC using cold water, and did not rinse out all the DC from my hair. I wrapped my hair in a t-shirt to absorb excess moisture.

5. I took down each braid, finger detangled, divided it into two or three sections depending on the size and did box braids. Which means that I am still protective styling for the rest of January, only that I am doing it in wigs now.

That was my wash day in full detail. Sorry, I was too lazy to do pictures. How was your wash day?

Join the wash day link up and share your experiences with the rest of the hair obsessed

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Hair Update - Weave Takedown

Yes, you read that right. I kept in my weave for less than 2 weeks, and its already out.

Why did I take it out so soon even after resolving I would keep it in for 4 weeks? Well, my mum had noticed that my hairline looked as if it had experienced some breakage. And my hairline felt painful and it seemed like I had little bumps coming in there. Add in the fact that I had a major case of the itches, and I was having a mini breakout in areas the weave got in contact with, I decided that the benefits of protective styling were not worth it. So I took down the weave yesterday evening after work.

After I was done taking it down, I noticed that the little bumps on my edges were the strat of scalp sores. And I had experienced a hairline setback. Sigh. No more weaves for me. Please hold me to this resolution for the sake of my hair and scalp.

After takedown, I just did a quick finger detangle and did some chunky cornrows (that are very loose) that I am wearing under my wig at the moment. I will do a proper detangle and wash this weekend.
The #WashDayExperience
So strategy to recover my edges is:

1. Daily scalp massage with coconut oil or Miconazole Nitrate (yes, I joined the MN bandwagon)
2. GHE everyday to keep hair moisturized and supple
3. Styling will be box braids worn under a wig. This style doesn't stress my edges, and is an excellent protective style.

Crazy 'fro after take down, no detangling

edges disappearing

Edges disappearing

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

2015 - Back to Basics Year in Hair Care

This year is all about the basics for me, so if you are starting your healthy hair journey, karibu sana (welcome). If you are an old hand at the healthy hair thing, you can still join me, since we all need refreshers on what's good for our hair and what's bad. 2015 is all about getting into good habits and keeping to a simple, and effective regimen.

So to make this much more interesting, I have set up a Twitter account for the blog that is separate from my personal twitter account. So follow @hardmashonahair (pretty please with a cherry on top) as we go back to basics this year.

So some of the topics I will be covering are:

1. Why you should start a healthy hair journey

2. Hair regimen basics

3. Deep Conditioning 101

4. Cleansing 101

5. Protein.Moisture Balance

6. Protective styling/low manipulation styling

7. Practices that boost length retention

8. Prepooing 101

9. Basic guide to transitioning

and so on.

As you can see, this year's lined up posts are all in line with my 2015 theme of Keep It Simple Stupid. I have had plenty of fun experimenting with plenty of products and techniques, and I now pretty much know what works for my hair and what doesn't. These more educative posts will be up weekly and hopefully will help those who have been confused with all my jargon and what not recently.

But if you want more frequent hair tips, like I said (insert shameless plug) follow my twitter account @hardmashonahair :)


Monday, 5 January 2015

Healthy Hair Experience: Zim's First Healthy Hair Meet Up

HHey ladies. So as you know from an earlier post, the Healthy Hair Experience happened on the 6th of December 2014. The lovely CurlyEva was the organiser of the event. And the panel was to include CurlyEva, Kundayi (from Telling HairStory) and yours truly *insert blush*

The event was supposed to kick off at 12.30. I arrived at Travel Plaza a little after 12 in order to lend a hand if needed. I found CurlyEva, and met Jackie, one of Zim's very hair obsessed :). Set up was quickly done, and the event was due to begin.

However, most ladies were very late, so the hair meet ended up being more of a conversation. Kundayi from Telling Hairstory kicked off the meet with tips for transitioners. She also gave a basic intro on how to start a hair journey.

Fungi aka CurlyEva was up next with her talk on relaxed hair care. It was quite fun, since she also gave us a history of her own hair journey.

We ended up having an intermission after this, and had several ''quizzes'' and the lady who got the questions right walked away with a little something something as her giveaway prize.

The meet was very small and intimate, and was more like friends getting to hang out together, than anything too serious. I quite enjoyed this experience, and I am definitely looking forward to future hair meets.

Right, time for pics...

 Products available for sale courtesy of Jeenz
Giveaway hampers waiting to be won
Goodie bags!!!!!
Winner of the ORS hamper raffle and CurlyEva
Raffle winners altogether
Sarah, one of Zim's hair obsessed
Alice, another of the hair obsessed
My haul from the meet