Hair Lessons From 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year Ladies (and Gents!!)

I strongly believe that life always has a lesson to teach. Even when it comes to hair! So here are my top 5 lessons learned throughout 2009:

1. Dry hair doesn't have to be that way

Although natural hair is inherently dry, it really doesn't have to be that way. If your natural hair always feels dry, you can do something about it. Don't just accept the dryness for what it is. The things I've found as key to retaining moisture are using water and sometype of oil to seal moisture in. My last post Sealing in Moisture outlines a method to lock in moisture into the strands. Give it a try.

2. Less is more

The more you manipulate your hair i.e. combing, styling etc this includes even the good stuff DC'ing, oiling etc... the more mechanical stress you load onto the hair the more likely it is to break. Of course to have healthy hair, you have to do some of these things. So find a happy medium to minimize physical stress to your hair.

3. Only do what works for you!

I can't stress this enough. I frequent forums and there are always new products that are all the rage, bandwagons to hop on, and certain beliefs that others try to force upon you. But you've got to remember that although hair is hair, it can differ between individuals. So sometimes products/ methods that work for some else might not work for you.

For goodness sakes, do not shampoo 2 times a week if it irritates your scalp and you know once a fortnight is sufficient! Don't DC 3 times a week if it leaves your hair mushy! If grease or Pink Lotion works for you, then so be it!! Find what works for YOU! It's great to try something you think might work for you, but don't stick with it if your hair doesn't like it. Do what allows YOUR hair to grow and be healthy.

4. Take control of your haircare journey!

I learned this during my bad weave saga. I haven't let anyone else touch my hair ever since and it's been thriving. If you're lucky enough to find someone who will do your hair but also listen to you if you want something done a specific way without catching an attitude, then hold on tight to them! These people are hard to find.

So many of the ladies on hairboards have also had setbacks with scissor happy stylists. I mean, walking into a salon with Mid Back Length (MBL) hair and coming out with shoulder length hair. Or asking a stylist to only cut ONE inch and they cut off THREE! Don't believe me? Just yesterday there was a post on LHFC about one of the forum's favourite relaxed, waistelength heads - Sylver2 who had a bad experience with a scissor happy stylist. She went to the salon for a 2-3 inch trim and left with a 4-5 inch cut and is now between brastrap length (bsl) and midback length (mbl). So sad, but I think we can all take a lesson from this. It doesn't have to be about trims, it could be the way they are overlapping relaxers or combing your hair.

It's all very well and good to have a stylist or friend help you with your hair. But if they are also hindering your hair growth and health in some way, you need to speak up. If they don't listen, then thank them for their services and move on.

5. Consistency is Key!

I think this one speaks for itself. If you know something works for you. Stick to it!

Well there you have it. What did 2009 teach you?

My Hair and Homemade Coconut Oil - Sealing in moisture

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'd probably say before I started using coconut oil, I never knew what moisturized 4b hair was really like. I'd just accepted the regular dryness for what it was. Every now and then I'd get that moisturized softness/cottonyness, but not for long. The 'normal' crunchiness would soon return. Meh.

So I've been using my homemade coconut oil for about 3 weeks (on both hair and skin), and of course .... I love it!! I'm about half way through it (about 1/4 cup left), so I'll definitely be making more in the next couple of weeks. I've been using it almost every day and it leaves my hair soft and really moisturized. Sometimes it's been the only thing I've applied to damp hair after washing, and it really does seal in the moisture. The moisturized feeling can last for days.

I went away over the past week and couldn't take any of my hair stuff with me. My hair stayed moisturized under my wig until I came back!!

Coconut oil is one of the few oils that penetrate and prevent protein loss from the hair shaft and also being an oil, it would create a diffusion barrier which prevents water from evaporating from the hair. Reasons it works so well!

So what's my moisturizing routine exactly? Well I'm using a method created by Chicoro. Let me tell you, this method really works. Before you put it off, let me just say, if you're having a problem with dry hair, JUST TRY IT! If it doesn't work for you (but I'm pretty sure it will), then so be it. But at least give it a go. I'm emphasising this because I actually came across Chicoro's method on her fotki about a year ago, and then just forgot about it ... I really wish I'd paid more attention back then, I'd probably have retained a little more length using this method. Ok, ok, I'll get to describing this miracle method!

It consists of applying 3 specific layers of products to moisturize and seal.

1) First apply a water based moisturizer. I realize people also refer to creams with the first ingredient being water as a 'water based moisturizer.' For this method, I'd suggest using something that's actually much more watery than that. No creams at this stage. I personally use a mixture of water and glycerine. I've gone back to a 50/50 mixture and it's working well so far. This adds moisture and the glycerine will draw moisture from the air, being an emollient.

2) Secondly apply an oil based moisturizer. I use my beloved coconut oil here. This seals in the moisture by creating that diffusion barrier.

3) Then a heavy or emulsified cream. I use Garnier Fructis Nutri-Repair. Heavier moisturizers sit on the hair and will seal the first 2 layers.

4) Lastly, she then suggests that you cover your hair. I've been wearing a wig when I leave the house or a scarf when I'm home. This prevents the air from stealing all the moisture.

That's it. It takes less than 5 minutes. My hair doesn't feel 'coated' or get 'build up.' I try not to be too heavy handed with the heavy cream leave-in part. You can find more information here:

If you do try this please let me know how it worked for you, if you had to add any variations or what products you used. Even better, also let other naturals know, because dryness is one of our biggest hurdles. This could very well be the solution they need, as it was for me.

How to make Coconut Oil (For hair and skin)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So last weekend I got my creative cap on and made my very own ....... Coconut Oil!!! I love this stuff. I've been using it for the past week on my skin and hair. I love this stuff!!! My skin really drinks it up. My hair looks shinnier and feels softer, especially my ends. Did I mention I love this stuff?!!

And who's responsible for this, you ask. This video by MixtressTV:

As you'll see, the video is so straight forward and it made the process a breeze (with great background music to boot!). I pretty much followed her entire method and only did a couple of things differently. My process was as follows:

I used 2 coconuts. Cracked them open and shredded/grated the flesh. Boy was that hard work! Good bicep work out though! But I need a blender ASAP!

Shredded coconut

I poured 5 cups of warm water in total. I think mine was bordering on hot though (oops!). I added 3 cups first and squeezed, then 2 cups and squeezed.

Making coconut milk

I then strained the liquid out. I felt like I wasn't getting much liquid out so I actually squeezed handfulls of the soaking shredded mush over a strainer. I think my line of thinking was that this would help me get a higher yield. Don't think it helped any though, seeing as most of what I got back (pretty much got all 5 cups and a bit back) was water that I ended up throwing away. Doh!

Coconut milk

Put it in the fridge. The cream separates and you get a hard block forming at the top.

I left this in the fridge for about a day and a half (was way too excited to wait 2 or 3!!). Got the block out and threw the water portion away.

Coconut cream block

This block then gets heated. This is the part when you actually get the oil! I don't have a stainless steel pot : ( so I had to use a non-stick frying pan. I think it worked ok.

Initially the coconut cream remains white when brought to a boil

The sugars/ proteins (or whatever it is, lol) start to clump, leaving a clear liquid. That's the oil!

Strained the oil out with an ol' trustly tea strainer.

Coconut oil!! How cool is that?!

I think the video shows the oil being all poured out at once. My thinking was that I didn't want to 'burn' the oil. So when a reasonable amount 'formed' in the pan, I would pour it out, leaving the clumps in the pan and wait for more oil to come out, then poured that out... and so on. I learnt this method from NigerianQueen's fotki tutorial: How to Make Coconut Oil.

I was still getting oil at this point.

I was so keen to get as much oil out as I could. I cooked those clumps until and my mum politely asked me to open more windows. That's when I realized I needed to stop, because it looked like all I had left were bits of charcoal in the pan!! LOL.

The finished product! It looks golden brown initially, but turns white once it's hardened. I keep it in the fridge as suggested. Gives it a longer shelf life, me thinks. The yield is slightly more than half a cup.

My coconut oil in all its glory! : )

All-in-all, this was a lot of fun and a big learning curve. I had made coconut oil before with the help of NigerianQueen's tutorial. It's an excellent tutorial. Slightly different from MixtressTV's method. You'll probably see that I've kind of combined the two methods.

If you do decided to have a go, please please please let me know how it worked out for you. Which method you used, if you improved on any of the methods, if you made any mistakes etc. Hopefully we can all learn from each other's experiences.

This was a lot of fun and as Veronica puts it "Yeh I liked that, that was good, that was goood." It sure was! Happy coconut oil making!!

I gave in and ...... COMBED : o

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I know some of you will be thinking "errrm... so??" Let me explain. About 5 months ago, I had a bad experience with someone combing my hair in a very rough manner, causing a lot of breakage ... I think from then, I developed an aversion to combs. Other than that, I also figured not combing would help me retain more length, which it definately has. There's no doubt that most things we do to manipulate our hair (combing included) will cause some sort of damage. So I guess not combing has helped me minimize the damage and subsequent breakage.

So why did I decide to comb today you ask. I've gradually been realizing that shed hair tended to hang at my ends. I can mostly fingercomb it out, but it sometimes ends up in the ends of my twists, tangles and forms what some ladies on either BHM/ LHCF (can't remember which) colourfuly described as "dreaded end balls" lol. For the most part, I can usually 'massage' these and then work them out of my hair. But some ... decided to permanently squat in my fro *humph.* So I decided to do a 'clean' up today and get ALL the shed hair outta there.

Surprisingly, not much hair came out at all ... well, considering I hadn't combed in about 5 months. So for me, fingercombing has largely been effective. I took a pic of the hair that came out ... I was "this" close to posting the pic, but I know shed hair grosses some people out, so I didn't. If you want me to post the pic, I'd be happy to, just leave me a comment or something. That said, I WON'T be going back to regular combing at all, but I think I'll do it every 5 - 6 months.

My process:

  • Shampooed hair
  • HEAVILY coated with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (best damned slip ever!!!)
  • After 10 minutes, applied Hebal Essences Longterm Relationship to just my ends (don't ask me why, lol, coz I have no idea! I think I just wanted to make sure my ends were protected).
  • After another 5 minutes of psyching myself up to put comb to hair, I finally started combing with my wide tooth shower comb. In small sections and starting from the ends of course, working my way up gently towards the roots.
  • Then I did something I've never done before. I used a small tooth comb. I figured that if the wide tooth comb had done a good enough job, a small tooth comb should, technically, be able to comb through with little difficulty and get more shed hair out. Again, I started from the ends and worked up to the ends. The small tooth comb pretty much glided through <3
  • I then unbraided each section and rinsed. I fingercombed under a running showerhead. It was really cool to not have any additional hair at all coming out as I ran my fingers through.

My hair just after shampooing

I'm so figgin in love with my hair right now <3

Hair Growth Progress - Thicker

Thursday, November 5, 2009

So over the weekend, I was looking at photos of my hair from a few months ago. Apart from length, I noticed a marked improvement in the thickness of my hair too! I'm so stoked about it and hopefully my hair will continue to thicken:


From what I know, what we normally refer to our hair's "thickness," can be attributed to 1) the thickness of each individual strand 2) The number of strands we have. I'm finding that my hair is still as fine as it ever was ... so I believe my progress is a function of growing in and retaining more strands (for example having some of my edges back. That is, my hair has become more DENSE. I think it's a result of several things like more washing (cleaner and healthier scalp = 'happier' follicles?), reducing mechanical stress to the follicles by not braiding or weaving for the last few months, and conditioning allowed me to retain more of that new growth.

Of course I'm interested in achieving even more density. My goal:

LOL, clearly, I've got a long way to go. But I'm getting there, that's the main thing : )

Hair Growth - Growing Back Edges with Emu oil - Update 3

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hi guys,

As I promised, here is an update of my edges to date:

From top to bottom 12 May 09, 12 June 09, 15 July 09 and 31 October 09

So it's been about 5 months now and I think my edges have done pretty well. They're not only getting longer, but also continue to thicken. I couldn't be happier!

I also wanted to address other factors, besides the Emu oil, that may have contributed to the growth.

  • I think, obviously, one of the biggest contributers has been not braiding my edges with extensions. Research tells us that hairstyles, such as braids, allow pulling forces to be exerted, causing mechanical damage on the hair follicles. This damage, if done repeatedly will cause inflammation and eventually lead to reduced hair growth (Khumalo, N.P., Jessop S., Gumedze F., Ehrlich., R. (2008) Determinants of marginal traction alopecia in African girls and women. J Am Acad Dermatol, 59, 432-438). So not braiding my edges would have reduced mechanical stress on my follicles and allowed proper growth. I have however left my hair/ edges unbraided before and my edges didn't grow back, so I assume that although it was a huge contributor, it wasn't the only reason for an improvement.
  • Moisturising would also have helped retain the length that I got. If my edges were dry and brittle, they would have broken right off and I wouldn't have seen any improvement.
  • Hmm... can't think of anything else. Can you? The reason I decided to do this list is that I don't want people to think that they can just slap on Emu oil and they'll go from neck length to waist length in one month. You still need to take care of your scalp and the hair that eventually grows as well. This along with the Emu oil that I believe has alleviated some of the inflammation caused by tight braids and weaves is what I think helped my edges grow back.
They're still not as full as i'd like them to be. But I'm certainly proud of the progress thus far : ) . I will continue to use Emu Oil regularly on my edges, but I'm also going to start incorporating Megatek to see if the results are any different.

Have you tried Megatek? Any Megatek hair growth success or failure stories?

Regimen Update

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I try to be as consistent as possible with my regimen. But I feel that a regimen doesn't have to be static. As long as there are ways to improve my current routine, I will always try to tweak it every now and then.

My regimen about 8-10 months ago was pretty much made up of Ayurvedic herbs and braids. I still love my Ayurvedic powders but I've taken on more conventional products to give my hair that extra moisturizing 'umpf.' As you may know from previous posts, I've let go of braids and weaves for now as I'd allowed them to wreak havoc on my edges. I've stuck to my current regimen for the past 4 months or so, albeit changes to one or two products.


Cowash (Conditioner wash) once or twice a week with any one of these:
  • Yes to Carrots
  • Vo5 Strawberries and Cream/ Free Me Fresia
  • Herbal Essences Longterm Relationship/ Hello Hydration
  • Pantene Colour Revival Intensive Treament
But these days it's more likely to be Yes to Carrots, Vo5 or the Pantene.

Shampoo once a week.
  • I'm no longer too concerned about what shampoo I use. I just want a clean scalp. At the moment I'm using dilute cheap sulfate shampoo by Alberto Balsam for dry, damaged hair (I figured it would be moisturizing if it's for dry, damaged hair). This is also a recommendation by Cathy Howse in her book Ultra Black Hair Growth II.
  • I normally pre-poo with Evoo. At the moment I've run out of it and have been using good ol' Crisco Vegetable Oil. It works really well and I think it actually may be better than EVOO. I think because it's heavier, it tends to protect my hair more from the shampoo. Loving it!

Egg Treatment once a week (3 weeks per month).

  • I love this!! It strengthens my hair, but softens it at the same time. I've also noticed that I tend to retain more moisture afterwards.

Cassia Obovata once a month

  • I swap the egg treatment for this once a month. I'm still in love with it. I used to do it every week. After a while it stopped having the same effect every time, so I decided to space out the treatments.

  • Pretty much everyday. For the past few months I've been using Pantene Moisture Renewal Leave-in. I went through 2 bottles of that. I liked it, but I've recently moved onto Garnier Fructis Nutri-Repair leave-in. I think the Nutri-Repair line is the Australinized version of the Triple Nutrition line. It's got the same darker green bottles and the '3 nourishing fruit oils' line on the bottle. Although, I think the US version of the line is sans this particular leave-in. It's thick, creamy and very moisturizing. Exactly how my hair likes it!

Tea Rinses
  • I still love my herbal tea rinses. I haven't used nettle, horsetail etc in a while (but I should!), mainly because I haven't found them locally at a reasonable price. I'd have to order them interstate, and y'all know how that can be on the pockets. So lately, I've been using a Amla + Neem final rinse, which I'm very happy with. Very good for my scalp and also very moisturizing for my hair.
Other things
  • Combing - I don't do it. Well, not with a comb at least. This has helped me retain a lot of length. I finger comb and that does the trick. Please don't take this as me saying combing is bad. I just personally find that my hair does better without combing. There are some people who simply cannot go without combing because their hair will tangle up. They're better off combing than having to constantly deal with tangles and knotting.
  • Twists and plaits - After my bad weave saga I decided to part with extensions indefinately. I redo these every 2 - 4 weeks. This has really given my scalp a break and I think it's been a large contributor to the way my hair has thickened.
Phewf! This post is getting quite long. But hopefully it gives you a good idea to where I am now with my regimen. If you're a newbie to the whole haircare thing, or just simply looking for pointers on improving your regimen, then I highly recommend the article: Hair Regimen Building for Newbies by Audrey Sivasothy a.k.a Sistaslick on the hairboards. I don't necessarily follow her suggestions word for word, but it's a good point of reference.

In my next post, I'll be putting up an update of my edges. So it'll be the improvement after 5 months of using Emu Oil!!

How consistent are you with your regimen? Made any changes lately?

Hair Growth - Growing Back Edges With Emu Oil Update 2

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hi Ladies and Gents,

Apologies to those who've been coming back to check for updates, only to find nothing : ( . I won't beat about the bush, here are my edges after using Emu oil for two months consistently:

I think the dates I put are a bit unclear, so from top to bottom 12 May 09, 12 June 09 and 15 July 09.

I didn't take pics for the third month ... out of pure laziness and being busy with school. I have 'pixie' braids/ plaits in at the moment, so I'll take more pictures when I take out the plaits in the next 2-3 weeks.

I've also had people PM me on BHM and LHCF to ask what brand I use. It's an Australian Brand called Emu Spirit:

I don't know whether this is available in the States. There was also the issue, raised in the literature that I 'reviewed', about the quality of Emu oil varying greatly between brands. So I'd be interested in knowing if others are getting better results with other brands.

Hopefully it won't be as long until my next update!!

RIP Michael Jackson

Monday, June 29, 2009

I know this is a bit late, but I still wanted to do this anyway.

Very very rarely is the world ever gifted such talent and humanity. Music-wise there is noone greater than MJ. Noone. His performances, second to none.

I grew up listening to Michael and I think most who did, will admit that his music made their childhood that little bit brighter. I'm not saying he was all of my childhood, but those moments when 'Bad' or 'Billie Jean' came on the radio and your legs seemed to take on a life of their own, made you stand up and gave you the audacity to think you could even remotely dance like MJ .... or when I recall singing along "Ashiwoke se ashiwoke Annie" to Smooth Criminal LOL. Those moments were GOLDEN and will FOREVER be cherished.

Michael also dreamt for the children that we all forget. He refused to turn a blind eye like most of us do. I pray that the world remembers that of him too.

Anyway, enough of me rambling. We all know he was and is a LEGEND. His memory and music will always be remembered.

Rest in peace Michael Joseph Jackson.

L'Oreal Found Guilty of Racism

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Apparently they sent a fax around saying that only white French people could be recruited to promote Garnier products.

It's disheartening that this sort of thing still happens in 2009!!! Come on! So when sistas complain about not being able to find jobs, it's not in their heads! This is the type of thing we're put up against. It's ridiculous... OK fair enough, I'm sure their biggest market is white ... but I'm sure there is a fair amount of black women using their products as well ...I also don't think white people would stop using Garnier products because there's a black person promoting it.

And L'oreal says they're 'dissapointed' by the verdict?? I reckon they're only 'dissapointed' they got caught out!!

What a shame...

You can find the full story here

Hair Growth - Growing Back Edges with Emu Oil - Update 1

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I know, I know, I deserve a good hiding for being slow on the updates! I'm sorry ... Exams have been murder! They went well though, thank you for asking. But I'm definately glad it's all over and I can get back into some serious hair growing.

Ok, back on topic. So I've been applying the emu oil to my edges (and to most of my hair for sealing) every other day ... I'd say on three or four days per week. I'm really pleased with the results so far and will continue to do this for the full three months. So before y'all start wishing you could just post up the "this post is worthless without pics" emoticon, I'll just save you the trouble lol. Here they are:

Right Side Edges

This side is worse than the left side - I think it's because it's the side I sleep on????

Left Side Edges:

I think both sides are coming along nicely : )

Now, I'll just say this. I'm not saying that everyone should go out and buy Emu Oil, I'm not saying it's a miracle in a bottle and will grow your hair back overnight. I've done a lot of research on Emu Oil and I found that it has properties which would be beneficial to my stressed edges. You can read about those properties in the first Growing Back Edges with Emu Oil post. It seems to be working really well for ME and it might not work for you. I'm just DOCUMENTING and sharing my experiences.

I'm really happy with the progress and hopefully it continues to grow this well over the remaining 2 months.

So.... go on, add your 2 cents! I'd love do hear your thoughts on this.

Hair Growth - Growing Back Edges with Emu Oil

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I live downunder, in the land of Emus. Being the hair junkie that I am, was surprised that I'd never tried to use Emu oil! So off I went, scouring hairboards for anectodal evidence that this oil did something for hair. I came across a few posts claiming improvements mainly in hair lines/ edges. Exactly what I needed. I then headed to journal articles to see if there was a scientific basis for this. This was what I found:

  • One study found emu oil has the ability to penetrate the skin barrier and largely has an anti-inflamatory effect. It was also found to suppress the inflammatory disease, arthritis. However, the study also found that the quality of emu oil that can be found in the market is greatly variable and is often mixed with other oil such as chicken fat or linseed oil (i.e. it's important to make sure you're getting a pure as possible product). (Whitehouse, M.W., Turner, A.G., Davis, C.K.C., Roberts, M.S. (1998). Emu Oil(s): A source of non-toxic transdermal anti-inflammatory agent in Aboriginal medicine. Inflammopharmacology, 6, 1-8).

  • In a pilot double-blind study (i.e. neither the researcher or the participant knows what treatment the particpant is getting, it just eliminates bias) participants were given mineral oil and emu oil, then asked to use and rank each (again without knowing which was which) on permeability and moisturizing properties. Emu oil ranked higher in both properties, on average. (Although, for the more technical readers, the difference for moisturizing properties was not found to be statistically significant, probably due to the small sample size, n= 11). (Zemstov, A., Gaddis, M., Montalvo-Lugo, V.M. (1996) Moisturizing and cosmetic properties of emu oil: a pilot double blind study. Australian Journal of Dermatology, 37, 169-152).

  • So what does inflammation have to do with edges, I hear you ask. Well, other studies have found that physical stress, caused by hairstyles such as braids, will result in mechanical damage to hair follicles. This in turn results in inflammation on the affected ares. (Khumalo, N.P., Jessop S., Gumedze F., Ehrlich., R. (2008) Determinants of marginal traction alopecia in African girls and women. J Am Acad Dermatol, 59, 432-438).

  • Relaxers in certain circumstances can result in inflammation, resulting in particular forms of alopecia (Khumalo, N.P., Pillay, K., Ngwanya, R.M. (2007)Acute 'relaxer'-associated scarring alopecia: a report of five cases. British Journal of Dermatology, 156, 1395-1396).

  • Here's an article by a UK based scientist on Emu oil. It's a great blog too!!

It's all well and good to have the scientific backing on the properties, but does this stuff actually work in the real world. Do the anti-inflammorty properties of emu oil help to alleviate the inflammatory effects of some of our styling practices? Unfortunately there are currently no studies directly linking emu oil and hair growth, so for now us hair junkies will have to rely on correlations with current studies, anectodes from forums, website, blogs and personal experience.

Looking around for any success stories, I found this website that has a page dedicated to growing back edges with Emu oil. At the bottom, she has pictures of her progress over 12 weeks, and there is quite a bit of improvement. She does also go into a bit of detail on factors that may have affected her results, which helps a little.

It does sound promising. We know it's definately not toxic, so I'm open to trying it. Regimen:

  • As simple as applying it on my edges every 2-3 nights for the next month. Depending on how my scalp feels, I may and probably will extend this little challenge to 3 months. I'll be taking a photo every week to keep tabs on the progress. I won't be applying anything else to my edges while I do this.

Anyhoo, let me know what you think. Do you have any experience with Emu oil?

Out With the Curly Weave, In With Mission Edges.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I took out the curly weave. It was matting and frizzing, so it was like a mini civil war every morning to try and get it looking right. Even then:

It behaved for as long as it could, I suppose. I had this hair in for 3 weeks total(when I put it back in after the first round, I used the same batch of hair). I use Amla oil to maintain my extensions. It's not the authentic kind, it's very runny, green and makes my real hair dry and hard. I'm sure it's laden with mineral oil. I'd bought about 4 or 5 bottles, so I'm glad I've found a use for it. I apply it everyday if I can, but I don't put much. It leaves extensions soft and shiney. Because it's fragranced, it doesn't end up smelling rancid, thank goodness.

I also felt my edges weren't protected enough in the weave. I could feel them being tugged at as I slept :(. Yes I used a scarf, in fact, I use 2 scarves. 1 satin, 1 silk. Not surprisingly, when I'd finished taking everything out, my edges looked worse!!! They'd been doing much better before this.

I'm in the process of coming up with a plan to get my edges back. I'll post it up soon :)

Wash Day in a Curly Weave

Saturday, May 2, 2009

So I weaved up again on the 17th/18th of April, which means it's been about 2 weeks. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't had a single wash day in those 2 weeks! I know, I know, but school's been really busy and I just haven't had the chance. I guess another reason is that I was too scared as I didn't know what this synthetic hair would look like after a wash. Didn't want to have to go around looking like a scarecrow because I simply don't have the time to re-do the weave if it all went haywire. So I braved up today. Washed a bit differently, mixing:

1) Shikakai powder with a little bit of shampoo and lots of water. I know, you're not meant to mix shikakai and shampoo as it can be extra drying, but I had a LOT of build up and just wanted to make sure that I cleaned properly. I poured the mixture onto my scalp. It was quite difficult with a curly weave, but I did what I could. Better than nothing. I then left it for 5-10 minutes, then rinsed for 5 minutes.

2) Conditioner with water which I poured between as many lines as I could, squeezed excess water out of the weave hair, baggied for about 20 minutes then rinsed thoroughly.

I don't know what I was scared about, the weave still looks fine, probably even a little better than before : ). It's about 80% dry now and I'm about to apply one of my new found loves, an oil, that I'm using as a growth aid. I've been using it for about 1 and a half weeks and I see little hairs sprouting on my edges : ) nothing major, but it's something! I'll post more details in the next few posts.

I've been really bad and neglecting my hair (*lowers head in shame*), but hey, school comes first. Always. After washing today, I noticed 2 braids that were hanging on for dear life and my hair was twisting! : ( I immediately took them out and redid them ... but if I want my edges back, I've gotta do better than that. Edges need to be re-done. Hopefully I get the chance at the end of this week.

Still in Recovery Mode - from my weave woes

Thursday, April 16, 2009

So yesterday's post was about how I had to remove my new weave for fear it would rip my hair out and ruin my scalp. I decided not to re-do the weave today, as my scalp still hurts a bit.

Today I wore a braid out. Love braid outs. It was too cute!!!

I'm continuing to treat my hair until I weave it up again. When I did the braid out my hair was a wee bit dry and my ends a bit tangly, but in much better condition than the day I took the weave out. I've learned through experience and from others that properly moisturized hair is something you have to build up to, it doesn't happen overnight. One of my favourite natural youtubers, RusticBeauty has a great video on this.

I moisturized heavily with my glycerine/ aloevera juice/ water mix which helped a lot.

This evening I've saturated my hair with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) again. It's amazing how much it softens, limits tangling and knotting. EVOO is rocking my world right now. After applying it, I'ved twisted and baggied. I'll leave it like this over night, and plan to cowash with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration then twist up again in the morning. Will let you know how it goes.

Ciao my lovlies!

My New Weave - Take 2!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

They say "If you want something done ...." The day I got my weave done, my scalp was quite painful, but I thought it was normal and the pain would go away. Well, it didn't. The next day I asked my mum to take a look at the most painful spot, and it was swollen people!!! Apparently my skin there was also pulled up, like really taught. Didn't even think twice about it, and took that baby (the weave) right out! As I took it out, I found another 2 or 3 swollen spots. Arrrgh!!! Anyway, my scalp felt so much better. Put my hair in plats and went to bed.

Today I prepood for the first time. Primarily because when I undid my hair it was soooo dry, I was afraid to do anything to it (remember how I'd said I didn't get the chance to treat my hair properly the way I normally do inbetween braids and weaves?).

1) I applied EVOO, saturating my hair completely. Sat around for about 3 hours (I know it's Wednesday, I'm on break from uni lol, I'm not being a bum).

2) I then mixed up and applied some Multani Mati Powder (fuller's earth) - I normally use Bentonite Clay, but I've moved and haven't found a place to get some yet.

3) Rinsed off the Multani powder after about and hour and shampood (I mixed in some glycerine into my shampoo)

4) I did a strong amla tea rinse. I let it sit for about a minute, squeezed out the excess tea, but did not rinse the tea out.

4) I then applied some ORS Replenishing Conditioner. I used the "reconditioning method" (I'll definitely do a post about this soon, it worked great!) and DC'd for about 25 minutes - then rinsed.

5) At about 50% dry, sprayed my glycerine/aloevera juice/water mix, applied EVOO and waited about 15 minutes, then applied a shea butter mix. Then put my hair into 8 plaits.

My hair is back to it's normal soft self!!! YAY. I'll be redoing the weave myself tomorrow or within the next few days, depending on how my scalp feels.

That's all for now. *I'll post pics tomorrow of what my hair looks like*

Ok here are the pics I promised. I love it when my hair is like this, so soft and fluffy : )


P.S. Ever had any weave/ braid mishaps? How did your hair recover?

Black Hair Weave Styles - I got a weave y'all! ... and other things

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm all weaved up! I was beginning to give up on weaves, but I think this one's a keeper. I've never had big hair so it's taking some getting used to ... It's braids in the front and weaved at the back.

It was quite imprompt tu, so I didn't really get the chance to treat my hair the way I normally do between braids. I only got to shampoo and did a quick DC with cholesterol (baggied with a plastic bag and used a blower on top of that) and then got weaved up!

My hair has grown, and is in the best condition it's ever been. One lady just looked at my hair and said "I never knew natural hair could look like this!" Although it was meant to be a complement, I was really disheartened. Black people don't even really know what our own hair looks like! So sad.

When the lady started doing the weave, she started to comb my hair while it was dry. I felt the comb ripping at my hair and saw few hairs fall to the floor. I immediately asked her to stop. I realized she didn't even see the damage should would have caused to my hair. Breakage is so normal to us, that we continue to rake and break our hair, all the while expecting it to get longer. One of the girls there even told me that combing my natural hair with a wide tooth comb is what enoucouraged knots, and that I should infact be using one of those small tooth rat tail combs ... she said she knew because she'd also had natural hair in the past. She continued to berrate me until I told her that I was glad that she'd found that that's what worked for her, but it wasn't going to work for my hair! That's one lesson I learnt with my hair, if someone else is doing it, speak up when you don't like what they're doing. Because at the end of the day, it'll be you that's dealing with the damage. [/rant]

All in all, I think it turned out ok, my scalp is a bit tender in the middle. Hopefully that goes away soon. Will let you know. Any of you had a change of hair style lately? Had someone else do your hair? How was your experience? Thoughts on my weave?

Hair Growth Progress Pics

Friday, April 3, 2009

So I've had these braids in for about 3 weeks. Thought it was hair growth progress pics time! I can see a teeny weeny bit of growth. Can you see it? I haven't measured it yet, I think I'll wait a bit.

My edges have to be re-done this weekend. A few braids have come out during the week, especially while washing, so I need to put those back in too. My edges look like they're doing well (I'll try and do comparison photos of those too sometime).

Had a wash day yesterday. I shampooed for the first time in about a month. Then deep conditioned. The hair where the braids have come out looks so shiney and feels really strong. I'm stoked! : )

Shooting the Breeze - No Joke!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I got pooped on by a bird y'all. lol, don't laugh!!

I was sitting at a table outside, about to have luch with a friend at uni, when I felt something cold drop on my head and into my lap. I though it was water, until I looked down at my dress, only to see a big drop of poo!!! I nearly died! I was so shocked y'all. I'm thinking "oh no you didn't" and all I could say was "I think I just got sha* on!" LOL.

About to bite into my Eggs Benedict too.

Remind me never to sit where there's no overhead covering...

T'is all.

Cassia Re-Miiiiix - How I make my Cassia Obovata Paste

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Guess what I did??! I made my first video ever! It's nothing fancy, but I'm so proud of it :) It shows how I mix the cassia obovata powder into a paste when I'm out of braids.

I still get a few clumps, but they don't really matter because they're soft and will "smudge" onto the hair just like the rest of the mix. So get rid of as many clumps as you can, but don't stand there trying to get every single one out. You'll be there forever and a day LOL!

This is what works for me, but I'm always up for some constructive criticism. So let me know what you think! How do you mix your cassia?

Hair Update

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's been a while. Life got in the way of hair care, can y'believe it?? But not to worry. I'm back on track now!

Since I last wrote, I took out the set of braids I had in, got a weave, and at the moment have braids. Phewf! Sounds like a lot, but let me explain.

I've vowed many a time, never to let anyone else do my hair ... I've had a few setbacks because of people being rough with my hair :( ... This time I let someone put in the weave for me, and they were extremely gentle - which I was greatful for. But after about 2 weeks the weave started pulling on my hair ... my edges in particular. It was so bad that one night, I got up at 2 am in the morning to undo the damned thing! I just wasn't going to risk losing my edges. They're already weak enough as it is. I really don't know what happened, because the person who weaved me up didn't do it too tightly at all ... ah well. Maybe weaves just aren't for me??

So after undoing the weave, I let my hair breathe for a few days, then braided it up (this was about 2 weeks ago). I'm so much happier in braids. So much easier on wash days too.

My first wash day in these braids was last weekend. I did a:

Shikakai rinse
Amla rinse
Conditioned with a moisturizing conditioner (with heat)
Applied EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

I'm back with a bang and will endeavour to update more often. I'd love to hear from you all too.

That's all for now peeps! Ciao.

Amla and Bhringraj Powder Mix for Hair

Sunday, February 8, 2009

So yesterday was wash day. It went really well. These powders never cease to amaze me every time I use them. I never have any residue, my scalp looks and feels so clean. My hair feels soft and well conditioned.

In my Wash Day Hair Routine post, I mentioned I wanted to try mixing the Amla and Bhringraj powders into one tea. Well I took the plunge and it seemed to work well. I don't know if I'll stick to it though... that's because, well, I now know it's not bad (for my hair in particular), but I still don't know if I'm getting the best out of each powder when they are mixed. So I maybe going back to using them individually, until I can do further research.

I love wash days. And my hair always smells soooo good :)

My Wash Day Hair Regimen

Friday, February 6, 2009

I've tried to keep my regimen as K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Sista) as possible, using the Crown and Glory Technique. For those who aren't familiar with this technique, it basically uses braids to aid hair growth and hair retention. I'll go into more detail on it and post up my results soon. While in braids I try to wash and deep condition twice a week, but will always wash at least once a week This is what I do on wash days:

  • I prepare all my ayurvedic herbs about 1 hour beforehand. I don't do specific measurements. I put more herb if my hair feels like it needs more cleaning or condition. I place the herb into a bowl then pour boiled water that I've let cool down for 10 minutes or so. The mixes are largely "teas," rather than pastes since I'm in braids.

From left: Shikakai tea, herbal tea, and cassia paste
  • I start with shikakai tea which I transfer into an empty VO5 squeeze bottle. I pour it over my head, one section at a time, and sort of rub/ massage it into my scalp. I refill the bottle about 2 more times and repeat, since I make about 2 litres of the stuff. It's normal to feel your hair harden a little with shikakai, just like during a protein treatment. I let it sit for about 5 minutes and then rinse.
  • I then repeat this with the amla tea and then the bhringraj tea. I've been wondering whether I could just mix the amla and bhringraj into one tea to shorten the process. I know people mix ayurvedic powders all the time, but I don't know if certain herbs work against each other, or if in fact some work synergistically together. So I just tend to use each one by itself, because I don't know. Maybe someone out there can chime in, I'd really appreciate it.
  • I towel dry my hair then do a moisturizing deep conditioning using cholesterol. Sometimes I'll mix other goodies into it. I apply it along the braid length till where my hair ends. With a shower cap, I get under my trusty hooded dryer for 30 - 40 minutes.
  • Every other week I'll either do a protein DC then follow up with a cholesterol DC or I'll mix the 2 DCs ... I'm not too sure which works best though.
  • I rinse out the DC then pour a tea with herbs like horsetail, nettle and whatever else I feel like on the day, over my scalp. I do it the same way as all the other teas. Wait 5 minutes then rinse. That's it.
I know it may look like a lot of steps, but it really isn't, and my hair is loving it! Let me know if you have a similar wash day or if you think there's something I could improve. I love to hear from you :)

My Black Hair Care Regimen - Natural Products

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I've finally found a regimen that's working for me! I've been consistent with it for the past 3 months, and it really feels like I've hit the nail on the head with this one.

As I mentioned in my Hair Introduction, Ayurvedic powders are the centre of my regimen. In particular, I use:

Shikakai (Acacia concinna): The powder contains saponins (cleansing agents). It hardly foams up at all, but it cleans like a dream. And you know how when you shampoo you get that squeaky, stripped feeling? Shikakai won't do that at all. I believe it has tannins in it like most of these ayurvedic herbs so it tends to harden the hair a little or maybe be a bit drying. But if mixed with a non drying herb like amla and bhringraj, the effect seems to subside. I'll go into how I use all these herbs soon.

Amla (Indian gooseberry) for healthy hair

Amla (Emblica officinalis): I've found this one is more conditioning rather than cleansing. It softens and defines my curl pattern. I fell that it darkens my hair. I love it. If you're thinking of mixing herbs, amla is a good one to mix with some of the more drying herbs like shikakai or henna.

Bhringraj (Eclipta alba): Bhringraj largley supports the scalp and promotes hair growth and premature greying. I remember reading a journal article on a study that showed that Bringraj oil increased hair growth. I'll probably do a post on this sometime soon. I use the powder for now though. This is also another good one to mix with the more drying herbs.

Cassia obovata for hair

Cassia (Cassia Obovata): Cassia has recently come into my life, and this is my true love lol. Originally, I'd wanted to use henna ... well I have used henna once years ago when I started out, it dried my hair out and I never used it again. Henna is great, but I went out and bought it without knowing what I was getting into. I'd read a couple of posts on and that was it. Fastward to today, I wanted to try it again because of its strengthening properties. The only thing is, I didn't want the colour change. No matter what anyone else says, Henna WILL colour your hair, even if it's mixed with other powders, or conditioner or whatever else. The active dye is deposited into the hair shaft regardless of what you do. I think there was a post on Long Hair Community forum about deactivating the Henna Lawsone dye. I've never done this, so I'm not too sure how well this works.

Well I suppose Cassia was the answer to my prayers then. It strengthens like Henna but doesn't colour dark hair at all. It will cause a colour change in blond hair and greys though. The shine it gives to hair hair is amazing. It also loosens the curl. The picture in my hair introduction post is of recently Cassia'd hair. I don't know how clear it is, I'll try and get a better one next time.

I also use herbs for hair like nettle, horsetail, burdock root and oatstraw.

In my next post I'll go over how I actually use all these herbs on wash day.

My Hair Introduction

Welcome to Urban Hair Care : ) I'm a 4b natural. Mostly shoulder length. 'Collar bone length' in some places and almost 'armpit length'in others, when stretched. My hair care journey started about 4 years ago when I decided to BC. I currently live in New Zealand, and moving to Australia in the next few weeks. This side of the world, there aren't too many black people, so the few black salons and products that you do find are very pricey. My hair was relaxed back then, and it suffered due to the lack of proper care. So I BC'd to a cute TWA (teeny weeny afro) ... Inspired by the beautiful ladies on

Because of school I got really busy and I didn't carry on researching hair care. Instead, I just left my hair alone for 2 years or so, either rocking a TWA, twists or braids. In the following years I joined more hair boards, and learned a lot more about black hair ... I'm still learning and it's only been in the last 1.5 years that I've really been paying my hair the attention it deserves. It's a lot healthier now, growing faster than ever and I'm retaining a lot more of it by avoiding breakage.

My regimen has changed quite a bit, but over the last 3 months I've narrowed it down to a few steps that are working well for me. Ayurvedic herbs are the integral part of my regimen. I love them!! I'll start going over my regimen in my next post ... so stay tuned!

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